Fusion food is a brilliant idea in theory.
Taking the best bits of any cuisine you like and combining it with other influences… Kind of the foodie version of ‘best of both worlds’.
In practice though, it’s often quite disappointing, as chefs need to have excellent knowledge of all the cuisines they re-invent to be able to develop a successful fusion menu.
Knowledge that the chefs at The Providores and Tapa Room in Marylebone have definitely mastered.
Nestled in the heart of the lovely bit of London that is Marylebone High Street, The Providores and Tapa Room is a two-in-one restaurant.
Upstairs is The Providores, a contemporary dining room, offering an upscale dining experience, while the ground floor is taken by The Tapa Room, an all-day restaurant, café and wine bar.
Tapa, not tapas? you’re thinking (I know you so well!)
Yes, since the Tapa Room takes its name from the huge, traditional Rarotongan Tapa cloth that hangs on the wall.
A truly stunning piece of art that well deserve the attention it’s getting!
But despite its beauty, it didn’t quite manage to take my attention away from the menus…
Not that choosing was an easy process. I wanted to try everything.
Cocktails did help to make the heartache of having to wave some dishes goodbye a little bit easier though…
The Marmalady (Sipsmith gin, Cointreau, Grand Marnier shaken with marmalade)
The Vanilla Sour (Cariel vanilla vodka, Limoncello, lemon juice topped with Fever Tree ginger ale)
Very much like an alcoholic root beer float and absolutely delightful!
Despite us wanting to make our way through most of the menu, 5 dishes is the amount waiting staff recommends you order to share between two people, so that’s what we did.
Starting with beautiful grilled scallops with sweet chilli sauce and crème fraîche.
A classic with a twist, where the moreish chilli sauce complemented the sweet, plump scallops perfectly.
The salt cod, hijiki and lemongrass fritters with cucumber, lime and dill relish were an absolute triumph.
Rich with salty fish and encased in the lightest, crispest of all batter the fritters were unlike any other I’d ever tried and the slightly sweet, Japanese-style relish cut through the richness of it all brilliantly.
The Cornish lamb shoulder spring rolls are another crowd-pleaser.
Crisp on the outside and filled with aromatic pulled lamb, potatoes, and peas, they’re had something of an Indian samosa with a bit of a Middle Eastern influence.
The Beef Pesto is one of The Providores and Tapa Room’s signature dishes and an absolute must order.
I can’t quite pin-point what makes this simple-looking dish of marinated beef fillet, warm chard, courgette and beetroot salad, with pesto and kalamata olives quite so addictive.
What I do know is that it was my favourite dish that night and I’ll be dreaming of it for a long long time (and I don’t even like beetroot!)
The last dish was a nod to Asia with Seared yellowfin tuna, served alongside a cucumber and green tea noodles salad.
A bit Japanese and a little bit Vietnamese too thanks to the punchy lime, spring onion and mint dressing, this could very well become my new favourite summer salad…
We ended the meal on a sweet note with Black sesame sponge and matcha custard.
A very traditional combination brought alive by the sourness of (a very generous dollop of) crème fraîche and the crunch and nuttiness of a paper-thin sesame tuile.
Last but not least was a plate of Treacle cured bacon ice cream, with olive meringues, and banana salted caramel.
Creamy, deeply savoury with just a little touch of sweetness, it made for a very enjoyable dish full of contrasts and was the perfect ending to a delightful meal.
The creative, well-balances dishes, the lovely, helpful and relaxed staff and the excellent cocktails, I loved it all.
The Providores’ Tapa Room is definitely one of the best places in town to take your tastebuds on a trip at only a fraction of the price of a round-the-world plane ticket.