My husband and I were the first to arrive and we were shown to our table. We were promptly asked if we would like to order a drink, so we ordered a jug of traditional Sangria, figuring we would share it with the other bloggers. The Sangria arrived and it was very nice. Light and refreshing as it should be, with fruit in it, albeit banana slices, which I have never seen before in a Sangria.
The others all arrived and after exchanging pleasantries and properly introducing ourselves, we awaited what was to be offered next. Of course they were asked what drinks they wanted and shortly after, food began arriving. We all commented on the same thing immediately. Nobody introduced themselves to us and we really weren't told how the evening was to progress. Putting that aside, as it is no big deal, we awaited to see what was on offer.
Craig, the manager/bartender/waiter, (we found out his name at the end of the evening) brought us out an array of various tapas dishes. My biggest problem with the menu is it offers too much from too many regions. It's Spanish, Greek, American, Mexican. Think of a country and there is most likely something on offer from that region. In addition to tapas, there are burgers and steaks on the menu as well.
We began with a Mezze Platter. This was by far my favourite dish of the night. It was a wonderful sampling of Olives, Parma ham, Hummus, Anchovies, Mozzarella, Goat's cheese with sundried tomatoes, Tapenade and very nice bread. There was ample of everything on the platter. I would have been content with that for my meal.
Following the Mezze, Craig brought us Ribs, Albondigas (meatballs), Jambalaya, Patatas Ailoli (potatoes with garlic mayo), Gambas al Pil Pil (garlic prawns) Aubergine, Chorizo sausage, Garlic bread and Nachos. Don't get me wrong the food was fine, and there were elements that were good. I thoroughly enjoyed the Gambas and the Chorizo was nice too! The Jambalaya was overcooked and mushy and I couldn't find anything in it other than rice. Being an American, I am used to a good Jambalaya filled with chicken, sausage and shrimp and having a real bite of spice to it! It's one of my favourites normally! This lacked all of the above. The potatoes were nice, but I never like to fill up on potatoes and the ribs were tasty. I don't like Albondigas at the best of times, so I really am not one to judge.
Desserts were not worth noting. I ordered Banoffee Pie and it was dense and glutenous without flavour, other than the slices of fresh banana. The majority of the pie was a very thick crumb crust and an overabundance of whipped squirty cream from a can. I would definitely give desserts a miss.
After the meal, we were taken to the bar where Craig whipped up his magic as a bartender and presented us with six different cocktails. He was good fun to watch and knew his stuff. I am not a big drinker and when I do drink, I tend not to drink overly sugary drinks. This was my problem with the cocktails, but certainly no fault of Craig's or La Rocas, just individual taste. Craig brought a breath of fresh air to the evening and because of him, it made the night much more memorable. He is an asset to La Rocas.
I think my biggest problem with this restaurant is that it doesn't know what it is trying to be. Craig told us the owner has a Chinese take away ( I think I am getting this right) as well as a Go Kart business. I think they are trying to be all things to all people and this simply is very difficult to do. If we were given the choice of choosing from the menu, it may have been a more successful night. I personally would have stuck to a theme or perhaps gone for something as simple as a burger.
Living in Leeds, it is a bit far for me to go, but if I were in the Wakefield area again, I would certainly give it another chance, deciding on the menu for myself. It wasn't objectionable, it just wasn't great. Saying that, it is still fairly new, so hopefully the owners will iron out the hiccups and turn this restaurant into a little gem. I wish them all the very best of luck and I thank them very much for having me and my husband.
18 Wood Street