I would never usually write about somewhere this close to my home, but in this case, I can’t not. Living in Suburbia has taken its toll. I’m no longer down with the kids, and although Surbiton is rich in delicious, independent cafes, it’s also rich in big branded restaurants, (everything you expect from a family friendly ‘burb). I’m not a fan of the big brand and I have been struggling to find anywhere to call my local. Surbiton is designed for families and whereas I do really appreciate this, (I’m a proud owner of one little monster), how fucking amazing is it to go somewhere that’s just that bit too cool for the kids? I’m not a Pizza Express kind of girl, and it’s great that Surbiton finally has a fresh alternative for us Suburbitons, fighting the stereotype.
Tapa literally means ‘cover’ or ‘lid’. In the beginning there were olives, almonds fried in oil and sprinkled with salt, and chunks of bread served with an olive oil dip. These are the original tapas. Simple foods, requiring little or no preparation. As the tradition evolved, tapas became more of a gastronomic event, with each new venue developing their own specialties.
Tapas, is based on simple recipes and the imaginative use of seasonal vegetables and local ingredients. The concept of tapas is to share. It is essentially a style of eating rather than a method of cooking.
Tapas (or one tapa) can be whatever you want. It is very popular in Spanish culture, the Spanish traditionally don’t drink without eating something, and originally these small snacks were given free as an accompaniment to a bought drink. Tapas can also be dinner with friends too. That’s the beauty of it. You can order as little or as much as you want. It can be kept simple or be made more complicated. It can be a small snack taken with a drink or two at lunchtime, an appetiser in the early evening before the main meal, or even as nibbles with a post-dinner cocktail. Whichever way you prefer it, I prefer mine best served with a gin cocktail amongst great company and a lovely atmosphere. Let me introduce you to this little beauty, Number NinetySeven
Tapas at N.97 is hearty and unpretentious. The ingredients are fresh, flavours are robust and the presentation is simple. In it’s own words “innovation and buzz of the city meets the openness and warmth of the country”. N.97 is a breath of fresh air and just what my corner of Suburbia needed. Oh yeah, and did I mention it has a Gin bar? It’s hip, sleek and perfectly cutting edge. My kinda cool.
97 Maple Road, Surbiton KT6 4AW
Follow them on Instagram @numberninetyseven
Follow them on Twitter @no_ninetyseven
Find them on Facebook @numberninetysevensurbiton
All pics were taken by me at Number NinetySeven and are of genuine dishes.