Summer might be over, but that’s a great excuse for some new seasonal dishes
Since it opened earlier this year, Tast Catala on King Street has been wowing both customers and critics, who have been visiting in droves to sample their genuine Catalan cuisine. It helps to have multi-Michelin starred executive chef Paco Pérez overseeing the menu, but although he makes regular visits to Manchester from Miramar - his flagship restaurant in Girona - Tast’s kitchen has been left in the very capable hands of head chef Miquel Villacrosa.
In only a few short months, some of Tast’s dishes have already become firm favourites. The eccentric Duck’in Donut with white chocolate, raspberry and duck liver, has become an Instagram classic as have trays of sticky arrosos which fly back and forth across the busy restaurant dozens of times a day.
But now it’s autumn. Nights are drawing in and the weather is getting colder, which calls for the introduction of some brand new dishes to mark the changing of the seasons.
Considering how well known Catalan cuisine is for its meat and fish dishes, its surprisingly accommodating for vegetarians who would feel totally at ease tucking into sharing plates of red pepper croquets and asparagus with bauma cheese, whilst surreptitiously wiping their plate with huge slices of Catalan coca bread with tomatoes and platters of regional cheese.
In addition, Tast have introduced a new vegetarian dish for autumn, on the ‘De L’Hort’, or ‘from the garden’ section of the menu, and is as beautiful to look at, as it is to eat. ‘Milfulls de verdures’ is a multi-layered savoury dish with a rich aubergine ratatouille sat between naturally coloured layers made from courgette, cauliflower and carrot. The dish is then topped with a light foam of béchamel sauce, sprinkled with hazelnuts for added texture and brought over to the table, where it is finished with freshly grated serrate de triadó cheese.
A couple of new fish and seafood dishes have also been added for the new season. Knocking back an ostra, or oyster, with salmon eggs and a vibrant green dressing made from codium seaweed to make the a perfect start to any meal with its fresh and vibrant taste of the sea.
Tonina amb escabetx, is simply described on the menu as ‘tuna, vinegar, carrots’. This new dish is as pretty as a picture with a ring of fresh raw tuna dotted with layers of pickled onion, carrot and mushrooms arouns a piquant vinegar dressing dotted with extra virgin olive oil.
The final new dish is a more seasonal version of a popular dish that was on Tasts’s opening menu, canelo – a Spanish version of the Italian cannelloni. Canelo la Barceloneta is stuffed with a rich minced guinea fowl filling before being gently smothered in a layer of béchamel and a reduced glossy game demi glace.
Catalan cuisine is about sharing food, in good company, along with excellent wine. Summer might be over for another year, but you can still find plenty of warmth in this beautiful new restaurant on King Street.