Salvador & Amanda, Covent Garden

So last night I ended up at Salvador & Amanda in Covent Garden. I should probably correct that comment. ‘Ended up’ makes it all sound as though it was random and spontaneous, but it wasn’t really like that. It was booked in advance after a few emails back and forth.

Dinner plans were the first thing brought to mind for a catch-up with lovely friends I have been neglecting for some time. Second was the Tastecard** and that’s where Salvador & Amanda came in. Taking in to consideration the fact that my friends and I live at opposite ends of London, we needed something central.

Place: Salvador & Amanda is sold as a ‘Bar Y Tapas Y Fiesta’ place, (Bar & Tapas & Party) and it certainly tries to live up to the hype.
The only thing I would mention is that although the room is pretty big, the layout made the room and space feel very small. When we had a full table next to us, we could pretty much hear their conversations and they ours.

Service: was pretty good – I can’t really complain about it.
We were approached by a friendly waiter who was patient and understanding of our need to ask for 5 minutes three times as we were busy talking and not looking at the menu.
After finally consulting (each other and the menu), we ordered a jug of the house sangria (£10 a jug in happy hour) and several tapas.
A really positive point was that we were for the most part left to enjoy our evening – we didn’t feel rushed or as though the waiters were trying to turn-around our table.

Atmosphere: was lively from 6:30 when we arrived til 10:30 when we left. A flamenco dancer performing during the night (from about 8 onwards) was a nice surprise. A little difficult to see due to the layout of the room but was a nice feature.

Food: for the most part was of a good standard. There were definitely highs and lows to the selection of tapas we chose but I think some of it was marred by a heavy hand with the salt.
We ordered: chicken wings, meatballs, ribs, black rice with seafood, scallops, calamari, cod bites, patatas bravas and stuffed peppers. Between 3 people, this was a lot of food and we left stuffed. Most of the food arrived on stands (not too dissimilar to those you may see at an afternoon tea) but was very hard to access so we quickly got rid of them and kept the plates.
Highlights included the perfectly seared scallops, the black rice with seafood – a little over-salted and the ribs.
Lowlights were the chicken wings – dry, the calamari – a bit rubbery and the patatas bravas – could have done with a little more cooking as they were a bit hard.
I didn’t try the meatballs or the stuffed peppers but I was told they were of a high standard.

Price: was £105 including our jug of sangria and the tip – but with Tastecard it came down to £58. All in all, without the Tastecard I’d have been disappointed with the price but with it, I find it hard to complain. We left feeling satisfied and having filled our bellies with food, drink and conversation.

Would I go back? If on Tastecard, yes – but I’d order less food and ideally order a bit better than this time.

Score: 7/10

**For those not in the know, (my silent readers!) Tastecard is a restaurant discount card. In a nutshell, you book dinner at a restaurant which offers Tastecard and you can eat for a cheaper rate – sometimes as much as 50% of your food and drink bill, but usually 50% off the food – not including drinks or specials.