Spanish cuisine has become so popular in this country that it is rare to find a town without a tapas bar. Holidaymakers returning from a sun-kissed break in Spain with fond memories of dining out on tapas over the years created a demand for Spanish food here in Britain.
And Bognor Regis is no different, seemingly. And that is where the town’s Sen Mediterranean Bar and Restaurant, run by the ever popular “Mr Happy”, comes in. Established in 2001, the Sudley Road restaurant has proved hugely popular for its welcoming ambience, expertly cooked dishes from an authentic menu and fabulously friendly service.
We decided to find out a bit more about the eatery and we do so as the first in our food reviews for a series of features exploring dining options in Bognor and the businesses behind them.
The starters at Sen are many and varied and it was particularly noticeable that there were a surprising amount of dishes that are suitable for vegetarians. Try a hellim kebab, made up of Cyprus goat’s cheese, sliced and chargrilled, tossed over a mixed salad with cherry tomatoes. Or perhaps sample a dolma, which consists of vine leaves stuffed with a delicious mixture of rice, onions, pine kernals and mixed herbs.
If you are feeling particularly hungry and fancy a side dish look no further than pan ajillo con quueso (garlic bread with cheese) but this choice may fill you up; and you will need room for the decisions offerings available when it comes to a main course or if you choose from the extensive tapas menu.
Before we delve into the tastebud-tingling tapas, first consider choosing from the selection of fish dishes available. From salmon asado (fresh salmon fillet, baked in the oven with green asparagus, cheese and cream) to the mouth-watering espada al heirro (fresh swordfish sizzler, chargrilled and served on a bed of fried fresh vegetables, with grilled tomatoes and lemon juice) there really is something for everyone’s taste.
And so to the tapas. Of course, there are far too many dishes to mention them all but you must try one or all of the following: mejillones de la casa (fresh mussels cooked in tomatoes, garlic, onions, red and green peppers, mild chillies and cream); sardines a la planche (grilled sardines served with salad and fresh lemon); gambas al ajillo (king prawns sauteed in garlic and white wine with a hint of chilli). And not forgetting Spanish chorizo sausage sauteed with onions and white wine, fried otatoes with a homemade garlic mayonnaise. The list goes on!
If you prefer to tuck into a main course then don’t look beyond pollo al horno (pan fried breast of chicken, cooked with spinach and baked in mozzarella cheese and cream in the oven) or even the zesty entrecot Mexicano (sirloin steak with a pepper and chilli sauce).
Tapas is a firm favourite in the UK; and with an intimate restaurant such as Sen offering such delicious food it’s little wonder…