On Tuesday 6th September 2016 we took part in the first ever Croquetas Challenge in London, hosted by Ember Yard and judged by a respected panel including The Guardian Weekend’s Food Editor Bob Granleese , food writer Joe Warwick, Time Out's Senior Digital Content Producer Laura Richards and Hot Dinners’ co-editor Catherine Hanly.

Croquetas have a very humble origin as the leftover stock from the traditional dish Cocido (a traditional chickpea-based stew) was used to make the béchamel, giving them a rich, meaty and smoky flavor. Croquetas being Spanish means every worthy Spanish restaurant wanted to take part. Needless to say the competition was tough, with big players such as Oldroy, Aqua Nueva, Brindisa Kitchens, Camino, Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen and Jason Atherton’s Social Wine & Tapas, among others, looking to elevate this humble snack to new heights with unusual creations such as Oxtail, Apricot and peanut or smoked eel, horseradish and beetroot.

Our chef and founder Omar Allibhoy is about to publish his second book Spanish Made Simple on Thursday 22nd September as he believes you can cook without the fuss and still eat like a king.

In preparation for the challenge, Omar single-handedly prepared over 120 croquetas before the event and decided to keep it simple and go all in with our famous Croquetas de Jamón which you can try at any of our Tapas Revolution restaurants.

Simplicity has paid-off as the judges were delighted with the perfect execution, beautiful texture and flavor of this traditional tapa. We came in second place, just behind Aqua Nueva’s black seafood alioli, making ours officially the best ham croquetas you can try in London.

If you’re feeling brave you can try making our Croquetas de Jamón, following Omar’s recipe from his first book or let us do the work and join us in any of our Tapas Revolution restaurants.