Glasgow’s tapas restaurant and cocktail bar, Rioja, welcomes new head chef Enrique Ruiz Marcos from Bilbao to their kitchen and is celebrating with new Spanish spring dishes and drinks.  

The aim for the new Spanish menu is to show their guests that they don’t need to head to San Sebastian to enjoy a taste of Spain.

Trained in Basque Country and with experience at Malaga’s first gastronomic hotel, Malaga Premium, to the avant-garde Azurmendi restaurant in Bilbao, this is Enrique’s first Scottish appointment on his culinary career. 

Glasgow new Scottish restaurant

Picture: Scottish hake

With a wealth of cooking styles and experience, Enrique will bring his philosophy of flavour and sustainability to Rioja.

Enrique is developing tapas dishes that are simple, sustainable and captivate the essence of Spain. New to the menu are delicious black rice with squid ink, coated in a lemon peel cream and sustainable Scottish hake with dressed potatoes and a zingy green sauce.

To celebrate his arrival at Rioja, the bar team have developed Iberian cocktail specials that offer something for everyone and pay homage to Spanish favourites.

Glasgow new Spanish restaurant

Picture: Purple Prince cocktail

Available for six weeks, you’ll find a Barcelona – a fresh fizz cocktail with Spanish Cava, gin, bitters and rhubarb that is best sipped outside in the spring sun.

Or for something more smooth, try the Pedro’s punch for a sweet kick of Pedro Ximenéz sherry, bourbon and lemon. 

Glasgow new Spanish menu

Picture: Barcelone cocktail

Gin lovers will adore their Purple Prince, made with the dark berry botanicals of Brockman’s gin, violet liqueur, lemonade and thyme while their Finnieston Sunshine is a light and refreshing fusion of rum, fresh mint, lime, zingy passion fruit and soda.

Enrique, the head chef at Rioja said: “This is my first time in Scotland and I’ve very excited to create authentic and sustainable Spanish tapas in Glasgow.

“Using Scottish products that are local is incredible, and I’ve enjoyed experiencing new ingredients every day. My dishes are simple and full of flavour, best shared over wine and I look forward to welcoming guests old and new through our doors.”

Toni Carbajosa, the co-owner Rotunda Group, said: “The arrival of Enrique is an exciting step for our kitchen team.

“He is a master of his trade, and we’re looking forward to bringing new tapas and new flavours to our menu. Our aim for Rioja has always been to deliver a concept that showcases the most authentic Spanish dishes using both Iberian and Scottish produce, and with the exciting arrival of Enrique we will continue to do that.”

About The Author

Rosalind Erskine

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related.

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