A giant tomato welcomes you as you step into Arriba. The city’s first Spanish tapas bar transports us to the La Tomatina festival of Spain instantly. It also beckons your curiosity before you are handed a menu. We note tastefully done interiors with life-size motorcycles and installations of bull faces made out of motorcycle parts. The 100-seater tapas bar located at Film Nagar is just over a week old and is managed by partners Teja Chekuri, Vidhatha Annmaneni, Nikhilesh K and Harsha. The food menu designed by Chef Manjunath Mural, of three-time Michelin star restaurant – The Song of India, Singapore, included interesting flavor combinations, some of which we never heard before. Chef Mural brings with him decades of experience and an eye for detail and we were indeed eager to taste the decadence.
The Drunken Bird
paela
Dum Ka Paella Chicken

Peppy pomegranate
We started with their signature cocktails Sands of Seville, a concoction of light rum, dark rum, pineapple juice, coconut water, fresh cream and washed with milk and clarified. Inspired by the beaches of Seville, a city in Spain, the drink is smoked with dried basil and oak chips and served with a transparent leaf for artistic effect. It had a distinct smoky aftertaste but was not heavy on the palate. Keeping up the sense of drama, we were served their vodka-based drink Drunken Bird. Made with fresh pomegranate juice, peach, lime juice, topped with passion fruit cream foam, edible flowers and pomegranate seeds, the cocktail was fresh and zingy. The drinks were accompanied by Desi Tacos Vegetarian, crispy banana flower tossed in Mediterranean spice drizzled with chili sour cream on lentil tacos. The tacos were perfectly bitesize, with the crispy banana flower adding to the fusion drama with its crunchiness. We next focussed our attention on a bag-shaped pastry parcel, Lamb Samosa, filled with a flavourful mixture of lamb, beans, coriander and cumin. The combination of lamb inside the crispy samosa shell had us wanting for more. The filling was juicy with a right hint of desi masalas. Then we went on straight to the grills, and tasted Pomegranate Enhanced Prawns, medium-sized prawns seasoned with fresh pomegranate juice and cheese. Savory and sweet, this unlikely combination offers a perfectly balanced plate.

samosa
Lamb Samosa

Dum laga ke haisha
Moving on to the mains, we tasted Paprika Relish Fish, steamed fish cubes with paprika, ginger, seasoned layer sauce along with asparagus and beans. The fish was well cooked. The asparagus added the needed bite to the dish along with the beautifully flavored fish broth. Next came Spanish Homemade Chicken Curry served with a side of Saffron rice. The chicken morsels were cooked with egg, potato, the fresh ginger-galangal sauce was tasty and went well with the rice. Staying true to its name, it had the comfort food vibes, all thanks to the right balance of flavors and spices. We concluded our gastronomic journey with the star of the menu, Dum Ka Paella Chicken, a Spanish play on our very own Hyderabadi Dum Biryani. The slow-cooked dum paella with marinated chicken, mint, saffron and fried onions was an ideal example of great Indo-Spanish fusion fare. Made with Arborio rice and an Indian-inspired spiced chicken marination, the Dum Ka Paella Chicken presented the best of both worlds.

Rs 2,600 for two. At Film Nagar.
– reshmichakravorthy@newindianexpress.com
Twitter: @ reshmi190488

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