El Tapir Despitado is hidden away above the more populous streets, perched on a rocky outcrop behind the massive, towered yellow stone of the cathedral which dominates Olvera. It can only be reached by navigating narrow, sharply inclined streets, angled between the crowded tumbled houses. It is worth the trouble. The view from a table on the tiny cobbled square outside the bar is exceptional at any time and has an air of exclusive seclusion, yet is wonderfully expansive and scenic.
From its last incarnation as a fairly traditonal tapas bar (if that can be said as the previous owners were a pair of canny, untraditional Geordie/Mackem emigres) the transformation into El Tapir Despitado is radical. The whole interior is now pure cool white with spare splashes of colour from cushions, surfaces and foliage. Chrome and polished laminate tables and high leg stools furnish the compact space. The atmosphere (and food) is chic bistro. Not surprising perhaps then to find that artistic sensibility permeates this spotless tabernacle of style. One of the owners is a painter and some of her enigmatic studies of elongated human figures populate the pristine walls. The night we went tapas had been previously ordered for the eight of us, the eclectic and unusual dishes that arrived in a regular stream from the miniscule broom cupboard sized kitchen included black pudding on a bed of apple puree and deconstructed chicken curry, all presented in the chef, Kris's, beautifully crafted mini tower style.
The true beauty of this eyrie of a bar, perhaps, is the potential afforded by its stunning location - which is also possibly its weakness. You have to want to go there and that will only happen through it becoming more widely known and patronised. Its not certain though how the idea of an uncompromisingly realised concept bar will go down with the locals as tradition is still big in this region. Business? Lifestyle? whatever their motivation I hope Marleen and Kris succeed. I'm not quite sure their direction and market is entirely clear yet, however, its early days and they are undoubtedly putting in a lot of resources and effort to create a decidedly different experience. Good luck to them.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.