Distinctive brick archways and interiors, characteristic tiled tables and floors, murals inspired by Gaudí and Joan Miró, lively music, and the chatter of people swilling sangria and Estrella. A few too many Riojas and you might think you're in the backstreets of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter.

It’s a treat to stumble upon new tapas bar, Bebemos, which is completely possible considering it's one of 18 restaurants in the sprawling Le Méridien Dubai Hotel & Conference Centre complex.

Bebemos means “we drink” and was conceived by a team including the hotel’s Catalan F&B Director. The head chef is also Catalan, which is perhaps why Bebemos has such an authentic feel.

Menus are printed on individual boards reminiscent of chalkboard menus you find throughout Spain – a simple listing in a mix of English and Spanish that can be difficult to decipher if you're not so familiar with Spanish food. I’ve been to Spain and eat tapas on occasion but still found myself Googling words like fideuà, banderilla and carquinyolis as the waiters struggled to adequately describe them to me. I suppose it just adds to the experience.

Classic Spanish dishes pepper the menu such as Valencian paella and Spanish omelette, alongside dishes representing Catalan cuisine like suquet de peix, a traditional fish stew, and fideuà, which I learn is a noodle version of the paella.

I love the rustic Signature Pan con Tomate – grilled bread served with fresh tomato pulp mixed with salt and high-quality EVOO – so much that I manage to devour two servings of the dip by spooning it directly into my mouth. The Chicken Croquetas are fresh from the fryer, resulting in a crisp outer coating encasing a creamy, flavourful centre. The Prawns al Ajillo are perfectly cooked in a garlicky sauce that’s great with the signature bread.

You can’t enjoy tapas without a plate of Spanish cured meats and cheeses. The Ibérico Cold Cuts Platter comes with saucisson, chorizo and lomo. (If you want Ibérico ham, you’ll need to order this separately). The Spanish Cheese Selection comes with Manchego, Idiazábal, Mahón and Cabrales cheeses which pair wonderfully with the homemade quince and mustard seed chutney.

My favourite main is the Valencia Paella with Chicken, Artichokes and Butter Beans, served in a skillet encrusted with a decent layer of socarrat, the toasted rice on the bottom that gives that extra flavour. The Seafood Fideuà with Allioli, Cuttlefish and Prawns is similarly served but with vermicelli instead of rice. The Suquet Monkfish and Langoustine Fisherman's Stew is a traditional Catalan dish that’s altogether comforting and satisfying. 

For dessert, we order Churros with Chocolate and Caramel, alongside the Crema Catalana with Carquinyolis. While both are good, our surprise favourite is the Hot Bread Parcel with Chocolate, Olive Oil and Salt, the chef’s interpretation of a children’s snack popularised by Ferran Adrià of El Bulli. These delicate parcels of melted chocolate topped with olive oil caviar and flaky sea salt are the perfect end to an entirely satisfying meal.