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Why London Loves Italian & Indian Restaurants More Than Spanish

By Omar Allibhoy (20 Aug 13)
Tags: italian food,italian cuisine,italian restaurants london,indian cuisine,indian food,indian restaurants,spanish tapas,spanish restaurants london,tapas cookbook,restaurant at the mall,restaurant westfield,tapas revolution,best spanish london,where to eat in london,Omar Allibhoy,spanish chef,

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Hi, my name is Omar Allibhoy. I'm a Spanish Chef and creator of the small but buzzy Tapas Revolution bars in Bluewater Kent and Westfield London.

I'm originally from Madrid, which is where my love of cooking and Spanish food began; I have been cooking for twenty-five years now and have recently published my first cookbook, Tapas Revolution.

Five years ago I asked myself why Spanish cuisine is not as popular in the UK as Italian or Indian food. I took to the streets of London and asked the public the same question. The main response was that Spanish food is not promoted to anywhere near the same extent as other cuisines.

For instance, how often do you find yourself going out to eat at a Spanish restaurant? Or, more importantly, how often do you cook Spanish food at home? “Not very often" is the answer I usually hear!

French cuisine has Raymond Blanc, Italian has Jamie Oliver and Antonio Carluccio, and Chinese has Ken Hom. Spanish cuisine, however, lacks a public ambassador, and this is why Spanish food is not as popular is the UK as other cuisines.

Through my work as a chef I've made it my job to raise awareness of Spanish gastronomy, not only because the taste of the food is so great, but also because it is so simple, and cheap to cook, often using ingredients you may already have in your cupboard at home.

Many people I've spoken to in London believe that special spices or abstract flavourings are required for good Spanish food, but this is simply not the case. I want to tackle this ‘fear of the unknown'.??Spanish food is as accessible, healthy and easy to make at home as all the rest, so it is just a matter of showing people how to make it. This is why I started my own Tapas Revolution - you can see why I picked the name, right? - and want the people of London to accompany me.

The London tapas scene is growing, but I want it to be as popular as Italian or Indian. I've been living in London for many years now and have a discovered some great spots for Spanish tapas: El Pirata Detapas, Barrafina, and Cambio de Tercio are on my ‘favourites' list!

All in all, London has some good Spanish elements, but I feel there is much more work to be done with showing people Spanish gastronomy – both the cooking part and the tasting. I want Londoners to join me with my mantra: tapas not pasta! Let's throw ourselves into the Tapas Revolution!

Have you discovered some fabulous tapas bars in London? Then it them with the world using the Facebook comment box below.

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