Black Mamba, Dundee’s hottest tapas restaurant, aims to combine the best bits of Asian and Spanish cuisine.
Ahead of the opening, restaurant owner Calum Runciman – who, alongside wife Lauren, also owns the Giddy Goose on Perth Road – told me the cuisine at Black Mamba would be both “quirky” and “unique”.
The untraditional tapas wouldn’t be solely Spanish dishes, nor Asian, but rather a fusion of both cuisines – Asian dishes with Spanish flavours, or Spanish dishes with Asian flavours.
Admittedly, I was intrigued. And so were our readers.
So, I made a mental note to visit the Nethergate restaurant once it opened.
Finally in early January, I found the time to check it out.
It was a freezing evening in Dundee when my colleague Morven McIntyre and I approached Black Mamba, braving treacherous icy pavements on our way.
The gorgeous façade of the renovated building was a pleasant surprise to us both – both the inside and outside looks incredibly stylish and modern.
Inside, the staff were immediately attentive and showed us to our – albeit small – table for two.
The place was abuzz with couples and groups all there to tuck into the tapas selection.
Clearly, much of Dundee is just as intrigued as we were.
Cocktails – or mocktails – are a must at Black Mamba
First off, we perused the drinks menu.
There are plenty of delicious-sounding options there, including the Tokyo Tea, Blueberry and Peach Elixir, and even three dessert cocktails.
As the – sigh – designated driver, I went for the Cos-no (£5.50).
This non-alcoholic drink combined both sweet and sour flavours well, and with dried raspberry seeds on top, it also had beautiful presentation.
My date for the evening, Morven, chose a Blackberry & Sage Margarita (£8.25).
Though this was very strong upon her first sip, it had a lovely flavour to it.
The fruity flavour came through soon enough and it was enjoyable to drink.
Was the chorizo spring roll a yay or nay on our Black Mamba Dundee review?
Advised by a server to choose either five tapas dishes to share, or two to three each, we went for the latter so we could test out more of the menu.
The tapas at Black Mamba, Dundee, arrives when it is ready, so there wasn’t the typical starter, main and dessert dining schedule.
Having visited venues with this format before, I didn’t mind the lack of structure.
My first dish to arrive was the Chorizo Spring Rolls (£5.95) off the Mamba Bites section. This was one of the dishes I was most excited about and the presentation didn’t disappoint.
The spring rolls were filled with both chorizo and black pudding, on a bed of salsa roja.
The wrapping was delightfully crispy and not at all soggy, and the rich flavours of the filling worked well together.
Four thin spring rolls was just the right portion for this as any more might have become sickly.
The Beef Shin Croqueta (£7.10) – while somewhat visually resembling profiteroles – was another roaring success.
The tender braised beef shin was coated in breading, served with a sticky, tangy Korean dipping sauce known as Ssamjang.
I could have gone for three more of these as the flavour was so satisfying and moreish.
For me, the Flank Steak (£11.95) was slightly too pink. I wasn’t asked how I like my steak served, and my personal preference is always medium well to well done. I know, I know – the shame!
However, once I got past the pink colour of the meat, I could appreciate the excellent flavour to it.
The seasoning was plentiful, and the Bang Bang butter served alongside added a powerful spicy kick to every bite.
How was the fish and veggie tapas at Black Mamba, Dundee?
Morven loved her Red Thai Gambas (£8.25), and so did I.
The king prawns were served in a creamy Thai broth, which combined delicious fragrant spices with a sweet hint of coconut.
The prawns themselves were cooked well, and not at all rubbery.
The Bacalaito Baskets (£6.50) or cod fritters were light and buttery, and had a tasty crisp batter.
The sauce was flavoursome and had a good level of spice which wasn’t overpowering.
For Morven, the Avos Pisto (£5.25) lacked a bit of flavour and was somewhat watery. The veg was slightly soft, but it was a generous portion.
Morven noted that after her pescatarian tapas, she still didn’t feel that full. After my steak, chorizo and beef however, I felt pretty stuffed.
Nevertheless, there is always room for dessert, especially after how much we enjoyed our other dishes. We ordered two dessert dishes to share.
Personally, I wasn’t a fan of the Banoffee Split (£6.25). Morven really enjoyed this though. We got two banana fritters with this which were crisped to perfection.
The miso toffee had a nice sweetness which paired well with the charred flavour of the banana.
The Crema Catalana (£6.25) was one of the most delicious desserts I have ever tasted.
It had all the creaminess of a Crème brûlée, with that flawlessly torched sugar topping, which was so satisfying to crack with the back of my spoon.
However, the addition of the citrus flavour of the yuzu (a Japanese fruit) was an exciting variation which worked really well.
The food at Black Mamba was on the whole, stellar. I only have one negative – the table we sat at.
The table for two near the doorway has a small bench area to eat off of, and two stools.
Facing the steamy window though, we didn’t feel as though we were part of the restaurant’s buzzing atmosphere.
This also meant we had to fully turn around on the stools in order to get the servers’ attention, which didn’t make for the relaxed dining experience.
I will say though that the two doors between ourselves and the cold night air meant we weren’t at all chilly sat by the entrance.
If dining at Black Mamba again – which I absolutely plan to – I would make sure to request a different table.
Address: 141 Nethergate, Dundee DD1 4DP
Tel: 01382 472769
Price: £71.25 for 6 tapas dishes, two desserts, one mocktail and a cocktail.
- Food: 4.5/5
- Service: 4/5
- Surroundings: 4/5