Gypsy Tapas Bar: Free Spirit
Gypsy Tapas Bar // 14 Liteiny Prospekt // Tel: 993 77 57 // Open daily from noon till the last // guest // Meal for two with alcohol 2100 rubles ($59.65)
Published: May 14, 2014 (Issue # 1810)
The logo for Gypsy Tapas Bar, a new bar on the corner of Liteiny Prospekt and Furshtatskaya, says “The place for those who love to travel,” and upon entering, we are greeted with an eclectic mix of ornaments, suggesting someone has just returned from a recent trip. Despite calling itself a tapas bar, the place is decorated with more Middle Eastern flavor than Spanish, however it is still welcoming, with the two invitingly large legs of ham sitting on a counter.
Despite greeting us warmly at the table, the waiter was of no help with our coats and instead we had to fold them by the windowsill due to the lack of hooks around. Glancing through the extensive drinks menu, I could not resist the temptation to try the “I Want a Summer Gypsy!” cocktail (300 rubles, $8.52). A mixture of rum, amaretto, berry syrup, strawberries and lemon juice, it was as sweet as it looked in presentation however, it could have done with less ice. My partner was not as lucky. Ordering a “Quiet Sangria” from their sangria range (250 rubles, $7.10), it was also beautifully presented, but was too watery.
The bar offers a one page tapas menu starting from 70 rubles ($2) for tapas with potato and up to 490 rubles ($14) for tapas topped with freshly sliced Serrano ham. We decided to sample the fresh goat’s cheese with anchovies (90 rubles, $2.55) and calamari and green sauce (130 rubles, $3.70). The flavors of both tapas were enjoyable: the salty anchovies were the perfect companion for the goat’s cheese, while the calamari rings had a firm texture and were delicious with the green sauce in which we could taste some fresh lemon. The only downside was that the bread was not freshly toasted and instead was soft and chewy in texture.
For mains, we ordered the fried Bacalao with red and yellow sweet peppers (390 rubles, $11.70) and a grilled red bass (460 rubles, $13.06). Presented with a thin crispy coating, the fresh white fish underneath was flavorsome, especially when eaten with the accompanied serving of grilled peppers.
My partner, however, spent most of the time busy deboning the red bass, which was served on a bland mixture of cooked vegetables in an awkward high-edged wooden plate. Offering a small side dish for the bones or serving it on a flat china plate would have been a better option here. However, despite the bones, the fish was well cooked and sweet.
With some room for dessert, we shared a creme catalane with fresh berries (280 rubles, $7.95), along with two Americanos (100 rubles each, $2.83). Presented in a jam jar, the creme catalane was a real delight and the highlight of the meal. The burnt sugar was blow-torched to perfection, covering the rich vanilla custard underneath. Topped with fresh berries, this dessert alone is reason enough to come back another time.
As we sipped on our coffee, we were treated to an excellent Smokie tribute band, quite fitting to the atmosphere of the venue. And as we left, humming the tune of “Lay Back in the Arms of Someone,” we did indeed feel like a pair of travelers, who had been temporarily whisked away by the gypsy spirit.