Ambience: Eclectic and trendy (4/5)
Food: A wide variety with prominent Spanish dishes (3/5)
Service: Efficient (5/5)
Overall: A multitude of flavours – to the point of confusion
It took quite a while to secure a booking at La Boqueria. Joburg has been buzzing about this new hangout since it opened a few weeks ago. It is situated where Wombles used to be in Parktown North and is owned by the same proprietors as Foundry a couple of hundred meters up the road.
The old Wombles was completely rebuilt into a huge restaurant with bar area, patio and mezzanine level. It looks like lots of fun was had decorating La Boqueria. The exotic lady-bullfighter mural at the entrance makes quite the impression and old filing cabinets at the bar counter are a charming touch. A lot of detail went into the interior of the restaurant and it came together nicely.
If Foundry is known for its highly simplistic man-food and beer menu, La Boqueria is the complete opposite. Apparently inspired by the owner’s travels to markets throughout the world, it is a multi-themed sprawling proposition. The wine list is extensive and interesting but unusually (and confusingly) listed under descriptions like “quench”, “cleanse”, “entice” and “nourish” rather than varietal. It took us quite a while to order our wine because we couldn’t find what we were looking for. Our table of four then proceeded to order some tapas from the top of the menu to start. We shared the hot fried olives, serrano+asiago croquettas, oxtail marmalade toast and wild mushroom toast which were all good. We also had the drunken scallop ceviche which was exceptional and highly recommended for seafood lovers. The mains unfortunately disappointed – the flavour of the Paella Marisco (seafood paella) was under-whelming, although it had generous amounts of seafood. The Poke Bowl contained some delicious tuna and salmon sashimi and edamame beans but was strangely paired with a sweet coconut flavoured brown rice and pineapple pieces. This was Asian-gone-all-wrong, we picked out the fish and beans and left the rest. The other main was Mexicola Chicken Kabobs which was perfectly fine but slightly bland and far from amazing.
For us, the menu could do with some refinement as La Boqueria struggles to define its cuisine. Perhaps it needs to simplify the menu and come closer to the Spanish theme it promises in name and design. We would visit La Boqueria again but will likely stick to the small plates and tapas.
Tel: +27 11 325 0011
17th 3rd, Parktown North, Johannesburg
Monday – Thursday 11.30am – 10pm; Friday and Saturday 11.30am – 11pm; Sunday 11.30am – 5pm
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