Tierra and Mar opened in Cirencester in November 2017, quickly becoming a favourite amongst the town.
The name means Land and Sea, with the idea of encapsulating the owners’ backgrounds and history; Chef Brett is originally from the English countryside, while Silvia grew up on the Mediterranean coast in Spain. This idea also translates to the food, where the menu consists of Spanish ideas with English country twists.
You voted Tierra and Mar into our Top 10 Places 2018, so we were invited to try them out for ourselves.
We started on some canapes, with freshly baked bread rolls and Spanish olive oil. The first canape was a piece of mackerel that we both audibly exclaimed as very good, then we tried the croquette and both proceeded to exclaim as amazing.
The first round of tapas was the cold options; a goats cheese mousse and a cured salmon.
The goats cheese mousse was topped with basil jelly, sitting on basil pesto with chilli jam, lime, semi dried tomatoes and caramelised walnut. The flavours were blended together beautifully, with the goats cheese intensity softened by the basil to bring it all together.
The salmon was a fantastic looking plate, heaven sent for article worthy images. It was a dish of whisky, citrus and honey cured salmon, with pickled vegetables, natural yoghurt, blood orange and frisée. I’m not usually one for ‘raw’ fish, but the slight cure took the edge off, while keeping the fish incredibly fresh and delicious. The pickled veg and yoghurt complimented the salmon perfectly for a harmonious and fresh combination.
The next round featured hot dishes. Firstly some incredible pan fried stone bass, served with dried grape and gin purée, sautéed potatoes, marinated grapes and an almond and garlic sauce. The fish was perfectly cooked, the puree was delicious and the overall plate was so tasty that my guest ate most of it before I’d had a chance!
The second hot dish we had was Octopus a la Plancha with squid ink gnocchi. It was combined with avocado and lemon purée, had Ibérian tocino (the fat from Ibérico ham) melted over top, with a sauce made from sobrasado (chorizo-like sausage). This was the Tierra and Mar name all over; land and sea combined into one delicious plate of food. It had an indulgence that fish dishes usually don’t, using the ham fat and sauce to add an earthy, full bodied element.
Next up we left the smaller tapas style plates behind, for the sharing of a larger hot dish. Spanish style dry rice with slow cooked pork ribs – very close to a paella – with all the best sticky bits of rice stuck on the pan. Classically flavoursome, taken to the next level with the accompanying saffron aioli.
Crispy churros with dark chocolate sauce and an orange curd. Churros and chocolate is a classic and is always a winner in my book, the orange curd adding that little bit extra.
We also enjoyed a house baked brioche, soaked in crème anglaise and topped with a crispy burnt sugar top – reminiscent of a crème brulee. Paired with homemade vanilla ice cream and a caramel sauce, this was an indulgent end to the meal. But then we had espresso and delicious petit-fours too – I could get used to tasting menus!
Brett, Silvia and the team have created an incredibly interesting combination of Spanish and English food – Mediterranean meets country in a harmonious way.
Tierra and Mar is something truly special and unique.