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Eat My Words: We review The Tap & Tonic in Lincoln





As far as I was concerned there was only two types of tapas – Spanish and British.

Spanish tapas, the original, conjures up images of lazy booze-fuelled lunches del mar, as the waiter punctuates the conversation with delivery of the next dish… fried squid, then chorizo in wine, then prawns in garlic.

British tapas – better known by some as the beige buffet – is a slightly more rushed version where chicken nuggets, onion rings, chips and sausage rolls are lobbed carelessly into the air fryer in a bid to stop the kids getting hangry.

Tap & Tonic in Lincoln
Tap & Tonic in Lincoln

It turns out there is a third type, as my trip to The Tap & Tonic revealed.

The family-owned Lincolnshire business has venues in Grantham and Lincoln and is getting quite the reputation for its quirky menu which includes some eyecatching cocktails and Havana cigars.

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It was the latter venue I visited and, as I was driving, unfortunately my mission revolved not around the booze but the food, which I can only describe as a micro-miscellany of the world’s finest dishes.

Eat My Words, a review
Eat My Words, a review

From kebabs to Welsh rarebit to Turkish sausage, with garlic mushrooms, tacos, prawn cocktail, posh sausage rolls and ham hock croquettes, the menu was only a mini chicken tikka masala away from a small plate for every palate.

With eyes bigger than stomachs, the two of us went for BBQ pork tacos, chorizo al vino, honey and whisky glazed figs, salmon and crayfish bites, pork kebabs and – why the heck not – a cranberry, brie and bacon flatbread from the sharing menu.

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Order placed, it was hard not to be struck by the decor in Tap & Tonic – or the bottomless brunching youngsters getting stuck into the cocktails on the neighbouring table.

The menu at Tap & Tonic
The menu at Tap & Tonic
Don't know which cocktail to go for? Help is at hand
Don't know which cocktail to go for? Help is at hand

The black and gold theme has something of a trendy wine bar feel while framed on the walls are a series of – and I’m not sure why – hats.

From a bowler to a begoggled steampunk thing to a voodoo-inspired top hat - which had me half expecting Baron Samedi to follow through the wall and start scrapping with James Bond - these different types of headwear brought the walls to life.

But what really caught my eye were the cocktails delivered to the table nearby, all sorts of colours, shapes and liquors definitely brightened up their table, and afternoon (I’ve since been shown a photo by a colleague who enjoyed a drink from the Grantham Tap & Tonic complete with an ice lolly hovering over their drink).

From voodoo to steampunk, there's a hat for everyone
From voodoo to steampunk, there's a hat for everyone
Inside Tap & Tonic
Inside Tap & Tonic

Not wanting to miss out, my dining partner decided to get in on the act and ordered a Mr Kipling mocktail; a smooth, sweet and refreshing drink which, of course, came with a cherry on top.

One nice touch was a QR code on the table which randomly selected a cocktail for anyone struggling for what to go with. Were I able to indulge I’d have been going for a chocolate orange Martini at £8.95.

First to the table were the figs, an amazing taste and a highlight of the meal.

If you go to Tap & Tonic, try the figs
If you go to Tap & Tonic, try the figs
The salmon and crayfish bites. My least favourite option, but still tasty
The salmon and crayfish bites. My least favourite option, but still tasty

The salmon and crayfish bites were nice but, to me, little different to most fishcakes I’ve ever eaten.

The chorizo quickly dragged me back to food heaven while the kebabs were also one of my favourite dishes.

Last out were the tacos and the sharing bread, the most filling of all the dishes.

Two tacos would probably have been enough on their own
Two tacos would probably have been enough on their own
The chorizo and pork kebabs - both superb
The chorizo and pork kebabs - both superb

The tacos were pleasant enough and, a rare treat with tacos, grease free, while the flatbread was nothing short of amazing with its rich mix of flavours. The only problem was, by this point, I was stuffed and the bread didn’t get finished.

Maybe more visits with fewer orders is in order?

But overall this meal was a really enjoyable surprise. I would say hats off to tap & Tonic, but they’d probably frame it.

The flatbread was amazing, but by then I was stuffed
The flatbread was amazing, but by then I was stuffed
The cherry on the drink! The Mr Kipling mocktail; very refreshing
The cherry on the drink! The Mr Kipling mocktail; very refreshing

Food: I didn’t know what to expect heading into Tap & Tonic, but I was pleasantly surprised. With so many options, not every plate will be your favourite, but there wasn’t a bad serving and the best ones were fantastic. ****

Drink: I nicked a sip or two of the Mr Kipling mocktail and it was delicious. I stuck with a steady pint of Camden Hells. *****

Decor: Not the place for someone with a phobia of hats, but a quirky and enjoyable decor and comfy seating. ***

Staff: There was a couple of young bar staff on duty, both very polite, both very busy with the large group’s Bottomless Brunch cocktails. ***

Price: We agreed that a plate of tacos each and some salt and chilli chips from the sharing menu would have made a decent meal on its own, but I have this relationship with tapas where I just need to try everything I can. However, all that food came to £46.10, which I thought was good value. ****

Have you had a great meal? Share your own Eat My Words reviews or tell us where to try by emailing: news@lincsonline.co.uk



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