A little piece of Spain just landed in Mill Road with the recent opening of Tu Casa Tapas, a new independent tapas bar at the Parker’s Piece end of the street.
It’s owned by Roi Vaquero and Elia Polo who met here in Cambridge five years ago when Roi, who hails from Galicia, took a sabbatical from his job as a corporate lawyer and arrived in the city to improve his English. He and Elia, who is Italian, noticed that there was no independent Spanish restaurant here and decided to set one up themselves. It’s been a long journey as they gained experience in some of the city’s top restaurants and negotiated the vagaries of the Cambridge commercial property market but they put a team together along the way and ended up completely refurbishing an old charity shop. They’ve created a welcoming space with a pared back aesthetic … whitewashed walls, dark wooden furniture, white crockery and plain terracotta dishes that really let the food be the star of the show.
We went for lunch last weekend and ordered from the tapas menu. Albondigas (beef and pork meatballs marinated in garlic, parsley and white wine tomato sauce) were aromatic in the piquant sauce.
We loved the generous plate of wafer thin hand carved Jamon Iberico de Bellota while the plump Croquetas de Boletus were a texture sensation with a crunchy outside and a soft, creamy mushroomy bechamel sauce inside.
Escalivada con Pimiento (roasted red and green pepper with onion and aubergine, seasoned with cumin and olive oil) was sweet and smokey at the same time.
We managed to squeeze in one final dish, Ensalada de queso de Cabra, a roasted goats cheese on crisp lettuce, studded with walnuts, sultanas and cherry tomatoes and drizzled with a sweet, sticky honey and pomegranate dressing.
Next time we go, we’ll try the main courses which include paella, slow cooked meats and the favourite Huevos rotos (hand cut chips with fried eggs and chorizo).
From the small dessert menu, we ordered Arroz con leche (Valencian rice, cinnamon and skinned lemon served with dried apricot in rosewater) for Johnny and a slice of Tarta de Santiago, the wonderful almond cake which took me right back to a lovely family holiday we had in Galicia some years ago.
There’s a small wine menu from which I ordered a glass of Rueda which was a perfect light white wine for lunchtime. Johnny enjoyed his glass of red wine, Ribera del Duero, and we couldn’t resist sharing a glass of sweet, raisiny Pedro Ximenez with our puddings.
Tu Casa Tapas fits really well into Mill Road with its cosmopolitan food scene. If you’re looking for authentic, delicious Spanish cooking, you’ll find it here.
Facebook: Tu Casa Tapas Restaurant
8 Mill Road, Cambridge CB1 2AD