La Tasca launches independent tapas bar concept

Spanish restaurant chain La Tasca will unveil what could be the first of a number of new independently branded and managed venues.

The group is to close one of its sites in Brighton and reopen it later this month as Bellota Bar y Tapas, which will have its own unique menu and styling, with no obvious link to La Tasca.

Should the new concept prove successful, La Tasca has plans to convert a further eight of its restaurants into independent-style tapas bars.

Bellota Bar y Tapas will serve more upmarket dishes than standard La Tasca restaurants, including the award-winning Jamon Iberico de Bellota from Guijuelo in Salamanca.

It will also feature what is thought to be the UK's first ever standalone cava bar, in partnership with wine producer Grupo Codorniu.

"Bellota will operate totally independently and will have no branded signals whatsoever," quotes La Tasca chief executive Simon Wilkinson as saying.

"It will be a contemporary independent Spanish tapas bar serving high quality food and drink products."

Depending on the success of the trial in Brighton, sites in Edinburgh and London are the next in line for conversion to the new concept, he said.

"There are certain demographics that demand innovation and independence alongside quality and Bellota in Brighton will tick all those boxes," added Mr Wilkinson.

It is not known yet whether La Tasca will embark on a new chef recruitment programme to staff the converted restaurants.

This latest move represents the most recent effort by La Tasca to re-position and diversify its offering and follows the launch of the group's new La Vina brand of wine bar and restaurants.

With locations in Hale, Liverpool, Lymington and Manchester, La Vina aims to offer authentic traditional Spanish cuisine alongside a wide choice of Spanish wines, sherry and cava.

"Strategically within our portfolio we want Spanish concepts positioned across every market segment except, for the time being, fine dining. We believe this will be achieved with Bar y Tapas, a rejuvenated and re-positioned La Tasca, and our successful La Vina concept," said Mr Wilkinson.

Berkeley Scott is a specialist recruitment agency providing chef recruitment solutions