In the last five years Seville’s tapas bars have undergone a noticeable change. Gone is the unflinching loyalty to standard dishes rolled out since time immemorial. In their place is the steadily growing embrace of influences from outside the Iberian peninsula and the birth of an of-the-moment concept: Fusion Tapas.
Right from the start two obvious bedfellows have been Spanish Tapas and Japanese food. Early standard bearers have been los Palillos in Alfalfa dedicated to ham and sushi (what else) and Pepe Hito in the Alameda drawing on a past Japanese immigration to town just outside of Seville called Coría del Rio.
But my favourite is ´La Hermandad del Sushi´, an assuming looking bar on Calle Feria, opened recently by Sushi chef Takashi Iuchi. Takashi originally came to Seville to learn flamenco guitar and is a lover of all things Sevillano. The bar is decked out with statues of the virgin, references to Semana Santa and has some genuinely intriguing fusion dishes such as ensaladilla with edamame beans and Salmorejo with tofu. Plus they have a very reasonably priced Menu del Día on offer.
The Spanish say that the food in the UK is rubbish. But what they don’t get that in 21st century Britain, if you go to anyone’s house you’ll be served food from every corner of the globe, sometimes separately, but sometimes all thrown together in a mad-hatter’s tea party concoction. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. But when it doesn’t we just take it on the chin and move on.
This is the adventurous approach I love about No-Lugar, the Art Company on Calle Trajano. On their menu you’ll find dishes from as far afield as the Philippines, India, Morocco, Italy, Mexico: all created with that same devil-may-care-approach that I personally find refreshing. Occasionally dishes fall flat, but they’re humble enough to take it on board and improve things in the future.
Raw fish dominate the two key players in the Peruvian/Japanese fusion restaurants in Seville. Ceviche – a Peruvian classic of fish marinated in lime, spices and coriander – had crept onto the menu of a few slightly more avant-garde restaurants in Seville, but with the arrival of Nikkei Bar in the Alameda and Nazca on calle Baños, it’s found its very own place in the city’s dining out scene.
As I understand it the key differences between the two establishments is that Nikkei Bar is Japanese with a Peruvian influence, while Nazca is essentially Peruvian with a Japanese twist. Either way expect raw fish aplenty and some twists on classic Spanish tapas too.
The best of the rest
Somewhere I haven’t tried, but that gets good reviews is Vega 10 in Triana, serving up a mix of Venezuelan and Spanish dishes.
And any of current batch of Trip Advisor pleasers such as Ovejas Negras, Duo Tapas, La Brunilda, Vineria San Telmo, Tata Pila, Perro Viejo, La Bartola, Antojo and La Azotea offer world cuisine dishes such as mushroom risotto, Tuna tataki and salmon tartar amongst more Spanish fare.
So dear Seville diners, go wild – go fusion.