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  • Meisha Garvey

New Menu Alert: La Mama's Tapas Bar & Restaurant, Abbeydale Rd



Daniela Cooke first established La Mama’s Latin Tapas Bar & Restaurant in 2009, drawing inspiration from her native homeland of Chile, with recipes passed down through her maternal line. The restaurant serves authentic Latin-American cuisine - everything is made in house with the finest, locally sourced ingredients and the cosy, intimate atmosphere just adds to the authenticity of the place, allowing you to take a step away from Sheffield’s cold, drizzly streets and into the comforting warmth of Chile.


La Mama’s is ranked among the top 10% of restaurant listings worldwide on Tripadvisor, having won the Traveler’s Choice Award four times consecutively. Their consistent rave reviews are not surprising, as the passion put into each dish is clearly visible in both their presentation and in the incredible taste.


Recently, we were fortunate to attend La Mama’s to try their new autumn/winter tapas menu. We made sure to sample a wide array of dishes off the menu. From the para picar ‘nibbles’ section, we chose the vegan 'sopaipillas al pebre'; a lightly fried pumpkin bread served with salsa pebre. We’d expected chunks of toasted bread, but were pleasantly surprised to find the pumpkin bread was almost like puffy nachos. Their light, slightly chewy texture made them the perfect nibble to start off our feast.


We chose three pescado ‘fish’ dishes, one of which was gluten free. The 'calamares fritos', 'hake & caper croquettes' and gluten free 'pescaito frito'; batter-less crispy whitebait. The calamari was perfectly executed, quality squid was clearly used because the calamari was fresh, crisp and light. It would’ve been our favourite fish dish if not for the hake & caper croquettes. Rolled in polenta and poppyseed, the citrus from the lemon zest enhanced the dish adding a tangy, refreshing flavour that paired well with the lemon and dill mayo. Capers can often be quite vinegary, but these weren’t, they added a bold, slightly salty flavour profile that went well with the hake, not overpowering it. Although the whitebait wasn’t our favourite, it was still a delicious dish in its own right, very similar to the calamari because they were both crispy and came with aioli. I wouldn’t order both together in the future, but it’s a great alternative to the calamari if you are gluten intolerant.


From the carne ‘meat’ section, the 'alitas de pollo con mole' was definitely the shining star. They were four large roasted chicken wings topped with a traditional spicy, smoky Mexican mole. The chicken was so tender it fell off the bone, and the chocolate in the mole thickened and enriched the sauce intensifying the warm spice and smokiness. The chillis, dark chocolate, spices, sesame seeds, raisins and almonds blended to create a rich, decadent sauce.


The homemade panela sugar BBQ sauce that accompanies the 'costillas de cerdo', belly pork ribs, was a revelation, spices like paprika and cumin really complemented the chilli and sweetness of the BBQ, and we used it to dip our Empanadas.


Our final meat dish was the 'empanadas de carne' which we paired with the cheese, 'de queso', ones from the vegetariano section. They were both distinctive, but we were especially impressed by the empanada de carnes as they packed a lot of flavour and were also made with fried cornmeal dough making them gluten free. The spiced beef, hint of epazote, paprika, onions, olives and sultanas elevated the beef, giving it strong flavours that weren’t overwhelming. Whereas the cheese empanadas were milder in comparison with a stretchy cheese pull we enjoyed hugely.


Shying away from the classic tapas accompaniment 'patatas bravas', we went for 'patatas ali-oli' instead, which were crispy, soft centred potatoes covered in an intensely garlicky mayo. They were incredibly tasty, and the perfect side to our favourite vegetarian and final tapas dish of night 'champiñones rellenos'. Two big juicy oven-baked mushrooms, topped and grilled with goat’s cheese, garlic, chilli and breadcrumb pate. It was a delectable dish. The goats cheese was almost mellow, so soft and garlicky. The hint of chilli added heat without making it overly spicy and the breadcrumb pate was well seasoned and added a nice crisp texture. It truly was ‘heaven with every bite’ and we were definitely impressed by the understated dish.


We concluded our evening with after dinner coffees and desserts. Churros with creamy, dulce de leche and smooth homemade dark chocolate sauce were shared out for the table. A vegan, gluten-free chocolate toffee torte and mango sorbet with mixed berry drizzle were also provided for the vegan members of our party. The churros were the perfect end to the evening, they were golden and crunchy on the outside but light and fluffy inside, so they didn’t push us over the edge of being too full. Both sauces were moreish, but with the dulce de leche being a sweet caramelised sauce, it might have been a nice balance if the dark chocolate sauce had been less sweet for a more rich and slightly bitter taste, instead of having sugared, cinnamon churros with two sugary sauces.

Overall the new menu is definitely a great success for La Mama’s, there wasn’t a dish we wouldn’t eat again. The staff were lovely and attentive throughout the night, and answered all our food related questions showing a great knowledge of the ingredients. The menu was varied and had something for everyone, whether you were vegan, vegetarian or gluten free (or all three) and they weren’t just a couple either, coeliacs and vegans have a lot to choose from. The intimacy of the venue just added to the experience too, it’s the perfect spot for group gatherings or dates — we couldn’t recommend it enough.


La Mama’s is situated on Abbeydale Road, next to Dead Donkey Bar, and it’s open 6pm - 9:30pm Tuesday - Thursday, 6pm - 10:00pm Friday and 3pm - 10pm Saturday. Bottomless Brunch is also available from 3pm - 5pm every Saturday.


For bookings visit: www.lamamalatin.co.uk


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