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Serrano Manchego Leith Walk
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Serrano Manchego
297 Leith Walk,
0131 554 0955
Open 7 days 9am - 12 midnight

On an August Thursday afternoon I decided to depart the city centre Festival madness and head down the road a mile or two in search of food at Serrano Manchego in sunny Leith, half way down the Walk.

 I’d been here once before, just after it opened three years ago, with my daughter who was eager try some Churros for breakfast. These were too sweet for me in the morning so I plumped for a Café con Leche instead. A second visit was long overdue, and after an afternoon of wandering round the city centre soaking up the Fringe atmosphere, both me and my eating companion were ready for food!

We were greeted at the converted sherry barrel reception desk by friendly manager, Redi, who ticked off my booking and showed us to our table. It was 6.30pm and already this popular tapas bar was busy. Welcome chilled Manzanilla and Amontillado Sherries were sipped as we perused the menu. Warm crusty bread with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar arrived as our order was taken.

The menu was very varied with plenty big hitting Spanish dishes on offer, with tapas ranging in price from £3.90 to £11.90, and most t plates averaging between £4 and £6 each.
From past tapas experience I reckoned 3 plates per person would be more than enough food – we ended up being a bit greedy and ordering 7 between us – well we still had that stroll back up the Walk to help work off any excess calories!

The ubiquitous Patatas Bravas: crispy potatoes, salsa and paprika served with Alioli sauce (garlic mayo!) were a first pick!
Boquerones Rebozados Fritos: delightful salty fried battered anchovies which were given a zing with plenty of freshly squeezed lemon
Gambas al Ajillo: big meaty prawns cooked in olive oil and lots of fresh garlic and chilli
Chistorra a la sidra: Spanish pork and beef sausage cooked in cider which made an unctuous, scrumptious, sticky sauce which the crusty bread mopped up perfectly
Pulpo a la Plancha: grilled octopus in garlic and parsley sauce (a recommendation of waitress, Sheyla from Sevilla – she knows her stuff as they didn’t disappoint!) 
The two specials from the board which changes daily were a must try: organic spiced chorizo and manchego croquettes were crunchy on the outside with the cheesy paprika sausage melting in the mouth
Tapa de solomillo: tender strips of pork fillet and pimientos de Padron - fried padron peppers and sweet sherry drizzle - the pork fell apart with the merest touch and worked so well with the peppers. Having a fondness for all things spicy, I was slightly disappointed that I didn’t get that 1 in 10% which is the Padron hot bad boy that reaches off the Scoville scale! 

What I liked about the food in Serrano Manchego was that every dish tasted different – no mix and match sauces – and everything was cooked fresh to order with each tapas dish offering a healthy sized portion of delicious authentic Spanish food. 

A glass of chilled white wine with dinner was welcome on a warm evening, the helpful Sheyla recommended the Don Jacob Rioja Blanco (£5.80 175ml) which was lovely and the Torres Mas Rabell (£5.50 175ml) was described as having a dry pear and melon taste. It did and was also delicious.

We left just enough space for pudding – my eating companion plumped for the Tarta de Santiago, the almond tart which was originally popular with pilgrims visiting the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, and is now available just about everywhere in Spain, was served cold with vanilla ice cream and was rich and, eh, almondy! Fab! 

My trip to Serrano Manchego turned full circle when I decided to have the Churros with chocolate dip and vanilla ice cream for pudding. That was a good choice and I will now probably be back to have it for breakfast one day soon, along with my Café con Leche! (D Hughes)

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