Spread over two floors, Tapeo’s high ceilings and polished wood tables bring to mind the old school elegance of Madrid, while the cooking feels upmarket and, if anything, more authentic than at other, similar outlets in Manchester. We try the unpasturised ewe’s milk cheese, drizzled with seriously picante olive oil, honey-smeared wafers of aubergine in a tempura-style batter and a sextuplet of Iberico ham croquetas (all coming in around £5-8). These pop in the mouth, as soft and moreish as melting ice cream. Tapeo is remarkably competitive in the portion stakes too; you’d pay similar for half the amount at El Gato around the corner. The owners hail from Valencia – and the menu includes classic takes on rabbit, hake and  ‘Secreto Iberico’ (aka ‘secret muscle’). This is a cut of acorn-fed pork taken from between the shoulder and loin. It’s served pink and perfectly tender with a thrillingly chargrilled edge. A pasta dish with squid ink and seafood, meanwhile, is visually challenging to the extent that we’re not 100 percent sure this is food. While you might not fancy a plate of black macaroni, it’s worth pushing the boat out for the flavour. Both mains come in around the £13 mark, with milk fed shoulder of lamb and fish dishes around £23. The meal’s crowning glory is a baked orange flan (£5.50) which, like the rest of the meal, goes fabulously with an earthy Valencian Pago de Tharsys Nuestro Bobal red (£27). The wine list is compact yet intriguing and the staff’s recommendations are excellent. Tapeo has only been open for a month – booking is recommended.

Open now, Tapeo and Wine, 209 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3NW. Tel: 0161 832 2770 www.tapeoandwine.com

Tue 5 Jul
Ruth Allan
Published on:
Tue 5 Jul 2016