In Bristol, England, a Restaurant Goes Back to Rustic Basics


Peter Sanchez-Iglesias of Paco Tapas. His aim is “something traditionally Spanish.”

Nick Hook photography

Some chefs serve commercial mayonnaise. For Peter Sanchez-Iglesias, the chef and an owner of Paco Tapas, and Dave Hazell, the head chef, making mayonnaise is a two-day process.

Crab shells are roasted and then infused in vegetable oil for 48 hours. The flavored oil is blended with ingredients like cider vinegar distilled from apples grown in nearby Somerset. The luscious, tangy result is indicative of the kind of culinary rigor and experimentation expected of Mr. Sanchez-Iglesias, who earned his first Michelin star at 23.

At Casamia, the modernist British restaurant where Mr. Sanchez-Iglesias and his brother, Jonray, made their reputations, experimentation might take the form of foams, liquid nitrogen and other sorts of kitchen wizardry. At Paco Tapas, near the Bristol Harbor, it manifests in nontraditional choices like the type of egg (from a Khaki Campbell duck, with an extra yolk added) used to make its tortilla española, with its decadently rich, golden interior. They are coloring within the lines but defining what makes color.


The barrel-aged Negroni at Paco Tapas.

Nick Hook photography

“We’re taking stuff from our neck of the woods and turning them into something traditionally Spanish,” said Mr. Sanchez-Iglesias, who was born and raised in Bristol but has spent a significant amount of time in Seville, the hometown of his father, Paco.

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