We are spoilt for choice with the restaurants lining Federal Street in the central city. One of the smaller but no less impressive restaurants is Spanish tapas restaurant Bellota. Meaning ‘acorn’ in Spanish, it is small but perfectly formed.
Sultry, moody lighting, combined with a clever use of space ensures the restaurant retains a cosy, Mediterranean feel. Red leather seating alongside an outside bar to lean on as you munch on your tapas evokes a very Spanish/Latin feel. All staff are either Spanish or Latin American and the availability of a world famous delicacy, Jamon Iberico de Bellota means this place is as authentic as it gets.
Pronounced Bae-Otta, the menu includes platters to share, charcuterie, cheese, pintxos (a Basque version of tapas), tapas and desserts. We began with the Mixed Platter which included Jamon serrano, chorizo, salchichon, duck pate, Manchego cheese and pickles. The meat was of a very high quality and the addition of crusty bread and a fresh tomato dip enhanced the platter further.
One of our favourite dishes was the Bolas de queso de cabra which was deep fried goats cheese, runny honey and toasted almonds. The piping hot goats cheese was encased in delicate bread crumbs and the addition of the honey was an amazing combination with the crunchy almonds which gave it texture. Definitely order this dish if you go.
The Empanadillo had a soft, delicate pastry and came with a tasty pesto dipping sauce. The filling of the Empanadillo constantly changes so be sure to ask your server what the filling of the day is.
The Brocheta de carne a la parilla con ajo y perejil was a grilled skewer of assorted meats with a garlic and parsley sauce. The meat was tender and succulent and the dish also came with some crunchy toasted bread covered with the garlic and parsley sauce. Delicious!
As far as we’re concerned, you can’t go out for tapas and not order a side of Patatas Bravas. Deep fried potato wedges comes with a spicy tomato sauce and a dollop of aioli. Be warned, the tomato sauce definitely has a kick!
Our final dish (apart from dessert!) were the Croquetas clasicas Espanolas – chicken and serrano ham croquettes with a blue cheese sauce. Although tasty, these weren’t the best croquetas we have ever had but the filling was generous and the accompanying blue cheese sauce was rich and creamy.
We couldn’t leave without sampling the Churros con dulce de leche – the traditional Spanish style ‘doughnuts’ dusted in chilli -orange sugar and served with dulce de leche caramel. Very moreish!
For authentic, quality tapas, we couldn’t recommend Bellota more. It’s certainly the best tapas we have found in Auckland so far.
91 Federal Street
Tel: 09 363 6301