When we were visiting Seville last autumn, I would never have imagined that a few months later we would be tucking into tasty tapas back home in our small Lincolnshire town of Spalding. Karl and Debbie Sergison were about to sell their delicatessen/restaurant but had a change of plan at the beginning of this year. The sale of their shop fell through but, taking inspiration from a holiday in Barcelona, they decided to give the premises a re-fit and open up as a trendy tapas bar.
Like many local residents, I was delighted to hear that Sergi’s was staying. I remember when they first opened up in Francis Street in 2005. I often used to pop in, particularly on a Friday afternoon, to pick up their Posh Nosh; a ready-to-cook three-course meal. Sometimes I would take it all up to Newcastle for the weekend: my mum still hankers after the delicious cubes of Parmentier potatoes.
Over the years it was a place for a lingering lunch or a catch-up coffee with friends, to pick up a bag of freshly-baked brownies or a jar of home-made strawberry jam. I even treated Dougie to one of Karl’s cookery school days where he learnt to chop onions like a pro. Both Karl and Debbie are talented chefs: Karl worked under Anton Mossiman at The Dorchester in London before meeting Debbie at The Liberal Club in Whitehall. The people of Spalding were so lucky when, after years working in Northern Ireland, they put down roots in Lincolnshire.
I don’t know why it’s taken us two months to try out the new bar but now we have, it will be hard to stay away. For a start, the place looks amazing: bright and colourful, lots of stripped wood, orange walls and comfy cushions. Even the loos have had a makeover, featuring traditional Iberian blue and white tiles.
A couple of weeks ago we chose a warm summer evening to try out Sergi’s Tapas Bar: we sat outside in the courtyard, under the shade of their beautiful olive tree. I was tempted by so many of the wonderful Spanish wines on the menu, or even a pitcher of Sangria, but I’d opted to drive so a non-alcoholic beer hit the spot instead. Dougie chose the Backyard Brewery Shed Head IPA. It’s probably the only non-Spanish alcoholic drink on the menu but as it was brewed in Falkenberg, Sweden, he thought it would bring back memories of an amusing hour we once spent there, trying desperately – and I mean, desperately – to find a loo.
Debbie talked us through the gratifyingly simple menu on the blackboard and we chose five dishes. Each one was heavenly, from the spicy prawns, Gambas Pil Pil, to the tender skewers of pork loin pinchos, the flavours combined with slices of bread and velvety Patatas Bravas to create a fabulous meal.
Dougie was keen to try more so we ordered two extra dishes: crispy fried squid and an amazing vegetable stew with black pudding featuring a yummy fried egg in the middle (no photos as we dived in a bit too quickly!) At the end of the meal I was feeling very full but, as is often the way, that section of my stomach that loves pudding told me it still had some room. We shared a divine terracotta dish of Crema Catalana: a delicate vanilla and cinnamon dessert with a burnt sugar topping.
Sergis Tapas Bar is open from Thursday to Sunday from 12 noon to 11pm (6pm Sundays). Give them a ring on 01775 766640 or check out their Facebook page for special offers and changing menu. They also have regular Spanish conversation classes on Thursdays so you can dine on tapas, enjoy a drink and learn the lingo.