Tapas Tuesday: Is Conto Lounge’s Spanish Cuisine up to Scratch?

Tapas, the Spanish cuisine that lets us feast on a little taste of everything, picking from various snacks and appetisers. Ideal for sharing, trying something new and eliminating the dreaded task of picking just one dish, it’s no wonder that the style of eating is popping up everywhere. From Mexican restaurants to Italian’s, tapas is the new ‘in’ way to dine. As restaurants all over Bournemouth offer a tapas menu, the real question is how do you know where is worth a visit? Well, we are here to help with that. Nerve Online visited Conto Lounge for a taste of Tapas Tuesday, but should you? Here’s the verdict.

As a student, tapas style dining can be daunting. Whilst the dishes aren’t too pricey individually, chose all the ones you want and the cost soon adds up. When your funds are limited, often you look for fixed prices, making tapas something to quickly avoid. Luckily, Conto Lounge has made it so you don’t have to. Visit on a Tuesday and you can have 3 dishes and a glass of wine for £9.95. Essentially, you can have an expensive dining style with a reasonable price tag.

Right, so funds in check. But is it worth the money?

Try even more food and split six between two.

First things first, the options.

Let’s be honest, a lot of us are far from used to eating exotic foods with incomprehensible titles, which tapas menus can easily be guilty of (there’s nothing exotic about beans on toast four days in a row). Luckily, you don’t have that trouble at Conto. The menu is simple, the foods are easy to recognise and there’s bound to be something for everyone. But, that’s not to say it’s underrated by any means. Sometimes simple is best, especially with groups of people sharing dishes. 

The only difficulty you might face is trying to pick three. But, if that’s the case, getting six between two and splitting all the dishes works perfectly.

If it helps, the top three dishes I can personally recommend are:

Halloumi, courgettes & peppers pan-fried in rose harissa. A truly unique flavour.

Spinach & goat’s cheese croquettes with tomato tapenade. Goats cheese literally oozes out of these.

Chicken teriyaki skewers with sesame dressing. Chicken made exciting again.

  • Halloumi, courgettes & peppers pan-fried in rose harissa (there’s something about the spices that make vegetables really exciting) 
  • Chicken teriyaki skewers with sesame dressing (not the same old boring chicken you are used to (and bored of) eating)
  • Spinach & goat’s cheese croquettes with tomato tapenade (the croquettes are a great texture, and the tapenade is packed full of delicious flavour) 

 What about the quantity?

Hummus with extra virgin olive oil and smoked paprika. A bread staple.

When ordering multiple, small dishes it’s hard to know if you are really getting good value for money. The style of dining means you never have a full plate (picking little bits is the best way to go) and the serving dishes are hard to quantify.

That being said, the best way to describe the tapas dining experience at Conto is one that will satisfy.

The meal is accompanied with a bread basket (I definitely recommend the hummus to have something to dip it in), so you do leave feeling full. Plus, tasting lots of flavours and a wide variety fulfills your taste buds too.

With all that in mind, the £10 price tag (including wine too) is actually a bargain and definitely worth every penny. 

Is it a true tapas experience?

For the real foodies amongst us, Conto might not be your ideal place to experience tapas cuisine. The menu is lacking some traditional tapas staples (olives and cold meats are typically

Chicken, chorizo and fried potatoes. Who knew potatoes could taste so good?

amongst the options), and perhaps not as flavoursome as a real taste of Spain. But, for what the menu lacks, the atmosphere makes up for. With tapas being centred on a social experience, Conto definitely upholds this key component of dining. With long tables, comfy sofas and board games on offer it’s definitely a place to get together with friends.

Whilst it might not be quite the same as dining on the veranda under the Spanish sunshine, it’s about as good as you’re going to get on Winton high street.

So, should you go?

Take the Tapas Tuesday at Conto Lounge for what it is, a cheap, social and simple dining experience and you are bound to enjoy it. There’s something for everyone, you will leave feeling full and you will be perfectly satisfied with the amount of money spent.