Did you Know that the word Tapa means “top” or “lid”?   The whole tapas eating culture came about because, way back in the day, thoughtful barkeepers in Spain used to provide a bread “tapa” for customers to cover their drinks so that flying insects would not get in.   It was then an easy next step to offer a small mouthful, or pincho, of food to sit on that bread.  The tapas was born!  You still should get a small pincho of food in a proper Spanish bar when you order your first round.  When I landed in Madrid in the early 90s this was a standard practice, I noticed on my last visit that it was much more of a rarity; soliciting a very Iberian shrug when I asked “donde es mi pincho???”.  Maybe my Spanish has really deteriorated! Tapas has now become so popular as a way of eating as it fits in with our 21st century life styles so well.  There will always be a place for a formal meal with crisp, white table clothes and a structured three (or more) courses that are yours to eat on your own.  But we are becoming a nation of more casual diners; wanting a social experience along with great food and drink.  Tapas lends itself to this beautifully. We want our food to encourage conversation, not kill it.

To this end we decided early on that we wanted bench style seating for the main dining room at Vida Comida.  I know that this is not to everyone’s taste, but we love having groups share some space, see what each other are eating and who knows, make new friendships as a result.  It has happened… Tapas in Madrid has moved on too.  If you want a totally crazy tapas weekend head to Madrid in late October. Back in the 1990s the Lavapies district had the reputation of being a gloriously bohemian place for a night out, but you had to be really smart not to get robbed.  20 years later and now Lavapies has one of the world’s most amazing multicultural Tapas festivals.  Over 120 restaurants and cafes, from all over the world, offer up their own version, their nation’s take on tapas.  For a couple of Euros you get a fantastic taste of that establishment and a mouthful of lovely Estrella!  Check out www.tapaspies.com – go have a look, or even better go for a visit.  In the mean time we have 40+ tapas dishes for you to work through… Oh, and Estrella on tap.

We want to warmly welcome the new additions to the Sherborne food scene.  Mad Dogs, Café Nero and the new guys at The Plume of Feathers. We love a bit of competition; it brings out the best in all of us.  We wish them all loads of success and hope each business brings lots of new people to our lovely town.

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