The last time I was at La Tasca, it was at its Omni Shopping Centre restaurant in Edinburgh after a concert at the Playhouse.
I was one of a high-spirited group who trusted the La Tasca brand – the vino tinto was flowing, and the food was delicious.
For this week’s restaurant review, instead of being accompanied by six inebriated concert-goers, I was with my daughter Ailsa, a picky, lively toddler, and one of my best friends, the lovely and long-suffering celiac Clare.
To begin with, I enjoyed my first visit to this particular outlet at La Tasca’s Charlotte Square restaurant.
The decor is unmistakably ‘La Tasca’, which, considering the excellent reputation it has for authentic Spanish tapas, helps with the comforting and relaxing ambiance.
Nervous about what Ailsa and Clare were going to eat because of gluten-free needs and regular ‘‘I no like that, mummy’’ moans, which I’ve listened to in eateries all over Scotland, I decided to sample a wee glass of chenin blanc.
It was crisp, refreshing, chilled and delicious.
But it was La Tasca’s menu that calmed my nerves rather than the wine. I was thrilled to discover it had, rather surprisingly, a kids’ menu, and its dishes had won an excellence award for the extent of the gluten-freeness.
Clare said she was delighted with the selection, and said it was a rare treat to choose what she wanted to eat rather than being told what she could eat.
Ailsa seemed a little taken aback by her meal – a board of brightly coloured tapas dishes and fresh vegetable sticks, orange juice and chocolate-sauce covered ice-cream.
It was a far cry from the sausage and mash, pizza and macaroni cheese that she usually has when we’re out.
Clare took five minutes to pick, obviously enjoying the choosing part, and I was reminded of the extent of La Tasca’s menu.
Coming firmly from the I’ll-eat-absolutely-anything clan, I loved the varied menu.
There’s a happy mix of seafood, meats and vegetable dishes, and there’s an overwhelming temptation to over-order (they’re only wee dishes, after all).
Clare and I shared - but couldn’t finish - seven dishes, including chicken and chorizo paella, butterfly king prawns, lemon chicken, slow-roasted pork belly, and patatas bravas.
With freshness, flavour, and knowledge that La Tasca sources produce from Spanish suppliers, this restaurant easily shone a ray of Spanish sunshine onto a rainy Edinburgh day.
La Tasca, 9 South Charlotte Street, Edinburgh, 0131 220 0011