Situated in the food haven that is Wapping Wharf, the owners of Bravas tapas bar on Cotham Hill, have brought their small plates down to the Harbour.
Already owners of Cantina, the mexican restaurant, they’ve opened Gambas only a few shipping containers down. Serving up authentic Spanish dishes with a seafood focus, hence the name (Gambas mean prawns in Spanish) however don’t be put-off if you don’t like seafood! When I went along with my friend Emma, both not being huge fish fans, we were able to pick out plenty of dishes to keep us grazing for hours.
We visited one evening after work and made the most of the autumnal sun by sitting outside, soaking up the last of the rays probably for the rest of the year.
We started on some cocktails, the pomegranate and orange gingria, whilst going through the menu and specials – picking out what seemed like every other dish. The staff at Gambas recommended 3 dishes per person, which we pretty much ignored and chose a grand total of 9 tapas dishes to smash through.
Spoiler alert – we didn’t have any problems mopping up all the food.
So, in no particular order, we chose: olives with rosemary and orange, pan con alioli, crispy fried chicken, patatas bravas (of course), fried aubergine with mollasses, mushrooms with oloroso, roasted peppers with sweet onions, cod croquettes, and padron peppers.
It was all really, really good and I’d gladly go back and order the same dishes all over again. My highlights included the padron peppers, perhaps because I’m slightly obsessed with them, I can’t be entirely sure.
The crispy fried chicken wasn’t on the bone and wasn’t fatty – it was how all fried chicken should be served up.
There was a very generous helping of patatas bravas, so extra points scored on that dish, covered in tomato and alioli sauces. The potatoes had been fried so were extra crispy, I’ll be ordering these every.time.
Oh hello fried aubergine! Are you going to be the dish that finally gets James to enjoy aubergine? Unfortunately for Emma, they were positioned right next to me and I couldn’t stop constantly picking away at them. A sweet and salty treat, that I convinced myself were healthy simply because they weren’t potato..
The cod croquettes, the only fish dish we went for, was creamy and smooth. Sitting on a tomato sauce that balanced and cut through the creaminess.
Once we finished up all our dishes, the sun had dipped behind the buildings and we headed inside to warm up. Propping ourselves up at the bar and sipping on the last of our cocktails.
Inside it’s clearly very popular, the place was heaving with a mixture of groups and couples, with hands diving across tables to taste all the tapas.
I think a new favourite Bristol establishment for me, and in quite a dangerous position on the way home from work. Next time you see me I may have turned into a padron pepper.