I’ll tell you a secret: we never celebrate Valentine’s day, even during the time when we were still dating. And now that we are married and have kids, Valentine’s day is just one of those normal days: we both have work, and one of us works really long hours. But my husband is sweet enough though to sometimes take me out to dinner when he is free and never fail to give me chocolates. He knows me too well – it’s always chocolates and not flowers.
It’s a gesture I appreciate because being Japanese, it should have been the other way around. Valentine’s Day in Japan has a weird tradition.
Anyway, this year, Valentine’s day fell on a Saturday so we both didn’t have work. We thought a night out would be great. We wanted to try something different, something new and something we don’t normally go to, location wise and cuisine wise.
We went to Spain. Without purchasing plane tickets. And came back to Dubai after 3 hours.
If you love Spanish food, tapas and a good sangria, I would recommend you go to Seville’s Spanish Tapas and Bar at Wafi’s Rooftop Gardens. I was at Seville’s a couple of weeks back for their 14th anniversary. it’s been FOURTEEN years since they opened in Dubai and we all know, with the very competitive Dubai dining scene, to survive for fourteen long years and still going strong means they must be doing something right!
We started the night with a clink. Seville’s traditional Spanish sangria is the best sangria I’ve had so far in Dubai. Best tasting and that sangria that will make you temporarily forget you have work the next day. I call it my ‘happy juice’. But never underestimate the effect of sangria (it contains alcohol), especially if you have work the next day. I will not elaborate but take it from me.
Happy (though a bit groggy..already?!), we moved on to tapas – Tapas are wide variety of appetizers or snacks in Spanish cuisine. These succulent starters are guaranteed to open up anyone’s appetite! There were plenty of tapas in the menu so we requested the friendly staff to recommend some of the restaurant’s most popular (can you tell we’re really clueless about Spanish food?).
AUTHENTIC, FLAVORFUL SPANISH FOOD
Check this: Seville’s full menu.
Upper left: Presa Iberica en Adobo (one of the best secret cuts of the Iberico pork, dressed with Spanish adobo and served as carpaccio) – I loved this from among these 4 tapas we ordered. “Adobo” comes from the Spanish word adobar, which literally means “??to marinate”?. The meat is tender with the right rub of adobo spices with a distinct touch of garlic and paprika, my two favorite spices.
Upper right: Chicken Flamenquines (classic tapa from the south of Spain. Breaded chicken breast stuffed with turkey bacon and cheese) – No doubt this is very familiar among the Japanese diners as it is so similar with breaded chicken cutlets in Japan. The mustard dip seals the deal in this savory tapa.
Lower left: Spanish omellete – we had the most common version, the one made only with eggs and potatoes, and possibly onion.
Lower right: Esqueixada de Bacalao (traditional Catalan cold starter with roasted vegetable, codfish and freshly grated tomatoes) – Sorry, I didn’t like this. Maybe because I am not a huge fan of fish and seafood but we wanted to give fish a try. My husband finished this off and actually liked how the fish went well with the fresh tomatoes.
As if we aren’t full with the tapas (the servings are generous and could make a full meal if you order many) and glasses (take note..plural) of sangria, we needed to order the main dish and we all know visiting a Spanish restaurant and NOT ordering Paella is a crime.
Normal people would order the traditional paella with beautiful open mussels and all sorts of seafood in it. Not us. We are allergic to shrimps (and other seafood creatures except fish) so chicken paella it is. There’s also a vegetarian version if you aren’t a meat eater. This chicken paella is a crowd pleaser, we suppose, it’s easy to like this: moist saffron flavored al dente rice (is there such thing as “al dente” in Spanish cuisine? The rice wasn’t soft as what we’re accustomed to eat at home, it was like it’s half cooked but I’ve read that that’s what a good Paella is all about). It’s all about the rice and Seville’s is a winner with this one.
My main dish is called Carillada de Ternera con patatas y pipparas, in English, beef cheek stew with baby potatoes, gherkins, green beans and Spanish sweet peppers. I am a huge meat eater. I don’t know how many times I have mentioned that when I talk about food in this blog. My finger automatically points to anything meat in the menu book. I liked this dish except that I wished all the parts were tender. There were some parts where I can’t cut the meat fibers but the flavor was very tasty. The gherkins? I am not sure why they’re there – it’s either you’ll love it, hate it or ignore it. Personally, I neither hated it nor liked it but it was a nice finish though this will be eaten together with the meat or potatoes? I don’t know.
What is a Valentine’s day date without desserts? We ordered two. First one was called Torrija Caramelizada, the longer description would be…I’m trying hard here…think French toast made from brioche soaked in lemon and cinnamon infused milk, fried, then dusted in cinnamon sugar or sweet syrups. The shorter description would be, INTOXICATING. And the shortest description is YUM. I won’t lie, I was afraid to eat this because I am avoiding bread in my diet (I get migraines when I consume wheat) but I do make exceptions. I choose my battles and this one’s worth fighting for! Do not miss to order this when you are in Seville’s. Repeat, do NOT miss!
The other one is Seville’s Crema Catalana or Catalan Cream is the Catalan name and version of the French dessert, crème brulée. It has lovely hint of lemon and cinnamon, a delicious twist to the usual flan. I like this too.
ROMANTIC, CHILL AMBIENCE
I wrote so many things about the food, but have to share about the ambience as well. Seville’s has that rustic feel, romantic and very cozy especially if you are seated outside where you can dine under the stars. Perfect when Dubai’s weather is very pleasant during the ‘winter’ season.
We wanted to sit outside for a change but I was told there will be an event near the garden and music could be loud and distracting (for some diners). I, for one, would like to hear what my partner has to say especially on rare kid-free dates like this so we opted for the indoor seating. Little did I know that the “event” was an Abba Revival Tribute Concert! It seems that there will be the same event next year, so I have marked that in my calendar!
Speaking of events, Seville’s will be celebrating Feria de Abril, Spanish Flamenco Fiesta on 21st April to 25th April 2015.
We would like to go back with the kids and I see that this place can be family friendly too as you can request for a table next to play garden area so you can keep a watch on the kids and enjoy your meal in peace.
Our Valentine’s day date at Seville’s was very nice and by the end of the evening we were asking ourselves what took us so long to discover this place.