Meet the owners
Home to innovative cocktails, authentic tapas, vibrant live music and a bustling dancefloor, La Raza is the perfect place to eat, drink and be merry, as head of Operations, Peter Rawlings, explains…
How would you describe La Raza to anyone who hasn’t experienced it before?
La Raza is a small cocktail bar and tapas restaurant, with a vibrant weekly offering of live music and DJs – specialising in funk, soul and disco. It’s unique in that we transform through the night, from restaurant, to lively cocktail bar, to having a bustling dancefloor when the clock strikes twelve. It can really feel like several great nights all rolled into one, all under one roof.
Cocktails are one of your specialities: what makes them so unique?
Our cocktail list is made up of all in-house creations, the result of our bartenders’ expertise and creativeness, plus feedback from customers. Our team is very confident in being able to make familiar, well-known cocktails, which is why we don’t list them – but please always ask if there’s something you’re after that you don’t see on our menus! Ultimately, we want to encourage people to be adventurous in their drink choices, and we’re always looking for exciting products and ingredients, so you’ll also find a few more unusual flavours thrown in there!
Which are your most popular cocktails?
One of our best sellers is Tropic Thunder, a punchy combo of mango, coconut and lychee, amongst other flavours; it’s palm trees, sunshine and blue skies in a glass! My pick off the current menu has got to be Irn-Brubarb Sours, which is the unusual but delightful combo of Irn-Bru and rhubarb vodka, invigorated with fresh lemon and bitters – it’s lip-smacking and energising.
Your tapas dishes are a real hit. Which are your three favourites?
Hmm, in first place I would have to say our salt cod croquetas, with a little spicy bravas dip, pictured below. They’re made by whipping salt cod into a decadent bechamel sauce, bread crumbing and then deep frying. They’re not particularly healthy for your body, but they are great for the soul.
Our king prawns sizzling in chilli and garlic have always been one of my go-to dishes too, with sourdough on the side to mop up the leftover juices! Lastly, I would say our salted and toasted Marcona almonds. A little bowl of these accompanied by an ice-cold glass of Fino sherry is something I could enjoy at any time of the day.
What events do you cater for?
We’re extremely flexible in what we can offer, but typically we see a lot of birthdays, hen parties, and offer cocktail classes. The venue can be sectioned off quite easily to give parties their own space, and we offer private hires for the whole venue too. It’s quite touching how many anniversary parties we get from couples who met years back in La Raza.
You took over the old Kiehl’s unit to open Pinch Spanish deli and cafe bar. Tell us about the offering there?
The name Pinch comes from the word pinchos (or pinxtos), a traditional bar cuisine of local produce, usually served on bread and held together with skewers, from Northern Spain (particularly the Basque Country). We serve hot and cold pinchos, ideal for a quick bite or to takeaway.
Some dishes are served in the traditional way on bread, such as Manchego and serrano on pan con tomate, others are served in miniature casserole pots, such as our slow cooked Iberico pig cheeks. During the daytime we operate mostly as a coffee shop, using freshly roasted beans from our friends at Hot Numbers. In the evenings Pinch becomes an ambiently-lit, intimate wine bar, serving carefully selected wines from incredible Spanish producers.
What do you love about running an indie business in Cambridge?
Freedom, along with the strong sense of community and collaborations with other independent businesses. So along with Hot Numbers, we use Cambridge Juice Company for our juices and Thorne Wines for our wine.
What’s next for La Raza?
Our new cocktail menu launches very, very soon! It’s geared towards ultimate summer refreshment and loaded with drinks that’ll get you dancing!
Visit La Raza at 4-6 Rose Crescent, Cambridge, CB2 3LL, or www.laraza.co.uk
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