Davida Tapas Bar - Reason enough to stop in Bandon

Posted by Conor O'Neill on Monday, January 30, 2006

A few Saturdays ago, myself and the worlds most understanding wife headed out to the new Tapas Bar in Bandon. I know, I know, you don’t often hear the words Tapas and Bandon in the same sentence, but bear with me.

Davida is in a fantastic location on Patrick’s Quay in Bandon looking out on the little river (the Bride?) rather than the Bandon itself. There are a few tables out the front for the warmer days and there is a heated area outside at the back too.

The room is dominated by the main bar where all of the food and drink is prepped. The menu is short but everything sounds tasty. The main problem we had was trying to figure out how to tackle the menu. Most people will presumably be just going for light snacks and a few glasses of wine whereas I hadn’t eaten since breakfast and was starving.

We asked the very friendly and helpful person in charge (Liz?) for her opinion. She suggested to start with something small, then to try one of the specials. So we went with a small bowl of just-right olives and then had the basque chicken which was excellent. Bit by bit we worked through the menu. The big advantage of the tapas idea is that each person can give up when they are full so Catherine faded before me. The meatballs were superb - as good as my own with the addition of some chilli. And the duck pate was stunningly good.

I have no idea how “authentic” the food is in Davida. I should really check out La Boquiera in Cork city for comparison. But I’m not remotely bothered if it isn’t. The quality of every dish was just right and suited our palates to a tee. What Vivian the owner has created is a really compelling alternative to the pub or big restaurant night out. We spent the night drinking the house red and it was excellent.

One thing that really impressed me was how Vivian has created a menu where all the dishes can be done with a cooler unit, a toaster oven and a microwave. All of the things like meatballs are obviously prepared ahead of time and heated on demand with the other dishes assembled as required. She is right to keep a strictly limited menu with nightly specials and I’m looking forward to seeing what else she comes up with. Anything with chorizo or jamon serrano gets my vote.

The only vaguely negative comment I would make is that a lot of customers are probably going to be clueless like ourselves and maybe an “introductory paragraph” in the menu might reduce some anxiety people would have about looking stupid and not knowing how to order.

We were originally worried that maybe it was a step too far for Bandon which to date has not exactly trail-blazed in the area of restaurants. When we arrived at 6.30 on a Saturday evening, we were the first customers. We purposely sat in the window with the aim to encourage others in. By 8.00 some more had joined and by 9.30 it was full. We were thrilled for Vivian and complimented her hugely on her venture. She has identified a genuine pent-up demand for a different way to spend an evening locally. It is also the sort of place that you might pop into at the start and/or end of a night to have a wee tipple and a snack.The lunch menu looks very appealing too and sunday brunch also looks pretty damned fine. I think we’ll be making more use of the services of our local baby-sitters over the next few months!If you do mention Davida to anyone, be very clear in how you say Tapas. Several people thought we now had Bandon’s first topless bar!

We just loved the whole idea of being able to pace your own meal. It suits everyone from the person in a rush who just wants a quick snack and a coffee to someone who feels like a few glasses of wine out of the house to those looking for a full nights food and drink.

Bandonians - support a great local business and eat, drink or have a coffee there today. Anyone heading to West Cork - do yourselves a big favour, skip the bypass road and stop at Davida to top up on some lovely nibbles before the last leg of your trip.

[tags]tapas, Davida, Patricks’s Quay[/tags]

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