Evuna – Tapas Bar or Wine Shop?

Exactly how many quarters has Manchester got?  Can a city have more than four?  I hear tell in the press of the latest campaign to create an “Irish Quarter” which is bringing England’s second city to the point of fractional incongruence.

Personally, I like the Spanish quarter and one of my fave tapas places is on Deansgate two forward rolls from the new Beetham Tower – Evuna.

Did you know that the Beetham Tower at 47 floors is the highest residential building in Europe.  Has anyone told the residents on floor 36 that the fire brigade can only reach the fourth floor?  Food for thought!

Talking of food, there is no shortage of tapas in that part of town with nearby Dimitris, and the very well established Rafa’s El Rincon (where you can rub shoulders with the odd Coronation Street “celebrity”).

Whereas Rafa’s is rustic and traditional Spanish, Evuna is at the posh end of the tapas spectrum.  You sit at glass tables, with real napkins, posh wine glasses and the tapas is served to you on nice white plates by well dressed and trendy (but knowledgeable) waiters.

It’s not really a tapas bar at all.  It’s a restaurant.  Although in this case it’s also a Spanish wine shop with an impressive, innovative and original list.  But which of its guises does it most excel at?

I love the food and have tried most tapas dishes from time to time.  I’ve also swigged a few bottles of various wines but I keep coming back to the Riojas.  At my last visit we tried a bottle of Luis Canas 1999 Rioja Reserva.  Smooth, oaky and typical Rioja – superb.  Was this the same Luis Canas who a few years ago sent me 6 bottles of 1994 Reserva via the Sunday Times Wine Club?  On that occasion it was bloody awful.  In fairness to the STWC they refunded 5 of the six bottles I ordered (badly corked).  At £15 a bottle that was reasonable of them to do it on a bottle by bottle basis.  Fortunately this time it was faultless!

Now I could focus on the food but trust me it’s OK – even good.  But one really goes to Evuna if one likes Spanish wine.  Normally at this point I rate a restaurant on how much it rips me off on the mark-up.  It’s very difficult to tell with Evuna since most of its wines are exclusive.  I struggled to find the Luis Canas at any British retailer online (£22 at Evuna).  I also struggled to find the Solar de Libano 1999 (£35 at Evuna), finally in desperation I searched in vain for the 1968 Vega Sicilia Unico (£1,600 per bottle at Evuna).

All in all the prices look reasonable with perhaps the Crianzas slightly overpriced, but the Reservas looking great value at about £20-30 a bottle.  Also some reasonable Gran Reservas at £30-40 a bottle.  If you order the Vega Sicilia I would hope for a fanfare of trumpets followed by a live performance of Bizet’s Carmen at your table, topped off with a spot of bullfighting.

It is possible also to buy wine to take away.  If you believe the take away prices (and I do) then the markups look to be following a fixed policy at about £10-15 per bottle.

Why don’t more restaurants follow fair mark-up policies like this.  Good work fella!

Evuna appears to be a one-off and I hope it remains that way.  As soon as it turns into a chain I will probably move on.  For now though, whenever I think of Spanish wine I think of this place.

Evuna,  277 – 279 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 4EW

0161 819 2752 enquiries@evuna.com  http://www.evuna.co.uk/

One Response to “Evuna – Tapas Bar or Wine Shop?”

  1. Simple Bloke Says:

    Evuna is a mediocre tapas bar that would not survive outside of provincial Manchester. Wine is good, food is average at best. Service is laughable, and outright dishonest. They require a £5 deposit for each person to reserve a table. Outageous right? But it gets better. Then they rip you off by “forgetting” that they’ve charged your for the table deposit. Excellent business model – if you like getting ripped off. Recommendation: avoid at all costs or give them no tip for their rip-off sins.

Leave a Reply