Real Iberico, super paella and proper tapas, this little taberna is one worth checking out now…

Hola amigos. Don’t be intimidated by our fluent Spanish, we just wanted to whet your appetite for news of a very exciting Spanish restaurant that’s opened in Tecom (Barsha Heights).

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Lola Taberna Española (named after the country’s most famous Flamenco dancer), is a sweet neighbourhood eatery that opened at the tail-end of last year, having replaced Barbary in the Tryp by Wyndham Dubai. The main dining area is accented with wooden shutters while a large painting of Lola adorns one wall as proper ham hunks hang on the other. It’s a first for the city to be able to display this in prime view, and certainly adds to the authenticity.

lola taberna barsha heights dubai

The focus here is on serving simple, genuine tapas that should satisfy any and all cravings for crispy burnt rice, sangria, and ham that tastes like acorns.

Large green olives, a plate of glistening slivers of Montaraz jamon (Dhs89), four perfectly plump Iberico croquettes (Dhs57), and a basket of bread were delicious nibbles with a cold glass of vermouth.

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The tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelette, Dhs49) was the epitome of comfort food par excellence, transforming a couple of humble ingredients (potatoes, eggs, olive oil) into a dish fit for Lola herself. Part warm and gooey, part fluffy and crisp – this would make a perfect breakfast on its own, but a worthy tapas addition, too.

Hankering for more, we ordered a paella. There are several versions to choose from (chicken, seafood, shell-free, and negra). We opted for the negra (Dhs169), a black paella with baby squid and licks of aioli. It arrived in a large skillet and required some elbow grease to scrape the sticky rice from the bottom of the pan, which is always tell-tale sign of a good paella.

Finally, a plate of churros was brought out with a cup full of rich chocolate sauce. Taste-wise it’s all there: golden, crispy, chewy things of deliciousness, but they don’t look like the real deal to us. We’re used to the ones that are piped through a star-shaped funnel tip, while these seem more like a plumper cousin. But we don’t want to obsess about this too much, because the food really is as good as it gets for tapas. Go now, then sit back with another chilled vermouth, and buen provecho.

Tryp by Wyndham Dubai, Barsha Height, Sun to Thur 5pm to 1am, Fri and Sat 1pm to 2am. Tel: (0)4 2476688. @lolataberna

Images: Supplied