Peter Cornish investigates tasty Spanish tapas at Tomatito. Photos by Romain Garrigue.

We held off on our review of Tomatito while others rushed to get theirs in early. We thought we would give El Willy, founder of the Tomatito brand, a chance to set things up before handing over to the more than capable hands of Chef Julio Gomez who now competently takes charge of the kitchen.

Of course, we swung by to check out the food as soon as they opened, and have returned on more occasions, and the place certainly lives up to expectations.

If you’ve read the earlier reviews you’ll already know Tomatito is all about the sexy, from the bold and colourful Spanish-themed interior showcasing El Willy’s unique personality, to the hot Latin passion in his interpretation of traditional Spanish tapas.

We got stuck right in starting with a glass of complimentary sangria. And then another.

First dish to arrive was the salmon TNT (VND145,000) that gets its name because it’s da bomb. Two fingers one bite, this dish of smoked Balik salmon in sour cream, white truffle oil and drizzled with honey explodes flavour with every bite.

Tapas is meant to be shared but we wouldn’t judge you if you kept this one for yourself.

Next on the table was mi causa (VND145,000). A traditional Peruvian plate updated and given a multi-cultural twist by Chef Julio, mi causa is a dish of slow-cooked Spanish octopus, Mexican pico de gallo, smoked mashed potato with lime mayo and a Cuban criolla sauce.

It creates the same explosive impact as the salmon, bursting with smoky flavours and the mildest hint of chilli.

Vegetarians tucked in to plates of Tomatito-style patatas bravas (VND80,000), a deliciously simple dish of fried potatoes smothered in homemade garlic mayo and a spicy tomato sauce oozing flavour with yet more hints of Mexican chilli.

Accompanying this was another Spanish favourite, tortilla de patatas (VND90,000), a simple omelette of eggs and potato, sliced and confited in Spanish extra virgin olive oil then cooked fresh to order for each guest. It’s easy to see why this is also a favourite.

Another octopus dish arrived, octopus a la Tomatito (VND145,000), Chef Willy’s interpretation of pulpo de Gallego, individually presented baby potatoes confited and oven cooked in rosemary, thyme, shallots oil and bay leaves, then served with barbecued octopus and a slice of Iberian jambon for a touch of the luxurious.

Yet more dishes arrived including montadito de gambas (VND110,000), a favourite of Chef Julio’s that combines flavours from Asia and Mexico to create a wanton taco with ginger, chilli oil, coriander and prawns, presented as bite sized fried tacos.

Tomatito is a restaurant founded on friendship, serving food best shared with friends. The well-deserved reputation of warm, welcome hospitality already established in its previous incarnation as Cafe-Restaurant looks set to continue with Tomatito.

Buen provecho a todo!

171 Calmette, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City