With virtually no marketing or sales push a tapas restaurant opened its doors five weeks ago in the leafy back streets of Harborne, in a converted hairdresser’s shop, next door to what was the frontage of Acorn Antiques. No Victoria Wood slapstick antics or paisley here though, thank goodness. From the street the bright front room looks inviting, with tapas bar and stools running around it. I always expect a level of Spanish kitsch in tapas restaurants – castanets, burnt umber paint, and distressed farmhouse tables with wrought ironwork. COMiDA however looks more like a trendy Soho eatery than a down at heel neighbourhood restaurant; think filament light-bulbs, white walls, and designed seating. That’s probably due to the fine art trained eye of co-owner Jade, she and head chef Stewart have traveled widely but return to Spanish cuisine as a favourite.
It’s Bring Your Own Booze so we rocked up with our bottles of reds and whites (which were obligingly refrigerated) not really knowing what to expect, as BYOB joints can in my opinion be hit and miss. We were a table of eight, and there were already seated a table of twelve, a two, and a table of sixteen. It was pleasantly noisy. A note of warning: do not drive to the restaurant. Seriously. Don’t. It’s in a residential area and you’ll really struggle to get a parking space. I suggest you park up on the car parks on Harborne High Street or better yet get the bus so you can have a tipple.
The restaurant serves tapas in the traditional way – small plates to share (or not) delivered to the table as they’re ready. As we were a hungry eight, we decided to order the whole menu. Twice. That may sound excessive (it was) but some of the plates are quite small and inexpensive, and you can definitely have a good value feed here. I won’t go over every morsel but there were some really lovely dishes: corn fed chicken with mojo sauce; grilled squid and garlic mayo; acidic anchovies with sweet part dried cherry tomatoes; goats cheese and butter-soft beetroot; rare steak with onion; fig with ham and honey; tortilla Espanola.
Top job Jade and Stewart, I suspect we’ll be seeing quite a bit of you.