Our stay in Madrid was unadventurous on the food front – as I’d mentioned, I’d not yet gathered up the courage to navigate the unfamiliar world of ordering tapas. By the time we got to Sevilla though, I was determined to shake off any misgivings and give it a try. Luckily when I mentioned to David our Airbnb host that I was uncertain about tapas etiquette, he very generously spent time with us going through the best ways to order tapas (you don’t have to order everything at once, you can order it one dish at a time!), and recommended his favourite modern tapas restaurant as well.
With David’s suggestions in mind, K and I headed off that night to Duo Tapas, a modern tapas restaurant in the hip Alameda district of Sevilla. We arrived at 8pm which is considered a reasonable dining hour in Spain, and in fact we were probably part of the early dinner crowd as the restaurant didn’t really heat up until about 9.30pm!
We got a table pretty easily, and the waiter was very accommodating as well. While he started off speaking Spanish, he soon figured out that we weren’t understanding him and he switched effortlessly to English. Breathing a sigh of relief, we ordered drinks – a simple lemonade for me, and a glass of the full-bodied house red for K.
You get some nibblies delivered to your table at Duo Tapas, and unlike other Spanish restaurants, you don’t get charged for these! While I like olives, I particularly liked the tiny pickled onions which were crunchy and juicy. Unfortunately the bread didn’t seem quite as fresh as it should have been, but that was fine – we weren’t there for the bread!
We started with the Ensalada Barbetena to whet our appetite – a surprisingly delicious mix of varied lettuce leaves, tomatoes, avocados, sprouts, and a light sprinkling of fried onions for texture and a burst of flavour. Lightly dressed with a very thick balsamic and paprika, it was just the type of fresh salad I was looking for.
David suggested that we order the Magret de Pato, his favourite tapas dish at the restaurant, so we decided to go with his recommendation. It is absolutely superb, and you get three generous slices of tender, juicy duck breast with the most superbly crispy skin served with a variety of roast vegetables.
The duck is the real highlight here, and for a moment I regretted only getting the tapas-sized dish for $3.50 Euro when paying $8 Euro could have gotten you a main-sized version of this dish – a real bargain! Still, tapas is all about tasting morsels of many different things, and there were more tapas dishes to be ordered and tasted.
All the other diners seemed to be ordering the Hamburguesa Elvis, so we ordered one as well. A house specialty perhaps? Delivered to our table was a little slider burger made up of a fried egg with a delicate soft yolk perched on top of a spiced chunky mini beef patty, cooked rare. I got a real visceral delight out of squishing the top of the burger bun on top of the egg, and having the creamy yolk soak into the bun! The dish is accompanied with some fat hand-cut chips on the side which unfortunately pale in comparison to the gloriously tasty hamburger.
We were getting pretty full by this point, but decided to order two more smaller tapas dishes to round off the meal. I was keen to try the Tokio Rolls, as I had some vague hope that they might be sushi rolls, which I had been craving. Unfortunately my hopes were dashed as spring rolls were delivered to our table (with a pair of chopsticks to boot!). Still, one can’t deny that these were surprisingly decent spring rolls with a light and crispy pastry that wasn’t too oily, and a tasty veggie-based filling that went particularly well with the sweet chilli dipping sauce.
We finished off our meal with some Marisco Croquetas, sat on a bed of creamy mayonnaise. The crumbed crust on these croquetas were lovely – very very thin so that the least bit of pressure meant you could break through to the creamy seafood mix inside. My only disappointment is that croqueta mix didn’t include chunks of seafood. It was clearly a seafood mix as there was a strong shellfish flavour, but there wasn’t the chunks of seafood to make it really tangible, or even to introduce some variety in the texture of the croquetas.
Duo Tapas definitely isn’t a standard traditional Spanish tapas restaurant serving standard tapas dishes. It’s modern, hip, and tries to incorporate elements of other cuisines into their dishes for some fusion fun. If you’re keen on trying innovative tapas in a cool restaurant, Duo Tapas is definitely the place to go!
Duo Tapas is located at 10 Calle Calatrava, Sevilla.