Katherine MacAlister gets her dancing shoes out for Spanish Night at The Crown.

Food aside, Spanish Night at The Crown in Woodstock is worth a visit for the music, singing and dancing alone.

Having turned up expecting a nice Spanish meal, a few hours later I was doing the Flamenco and shouting ‘ole’ along with everyone else in the packed bar. Ahem.

What I lacked in skill I more than made up for in enthusiasm. You can imagine.

Yes a good night was had by all, and as the tempo increased, and the foot stamping got faster, so the whirling and clapping spiralled.

Every Thursday is Spanish Night at The Crown, and perhaps, it nearly being Christmas an ‘all, it was busier than normal, or maybe word has just got out about the food, because it was heaving.

Expecting a bastardised version of Spanish tapas, it wasn’t until the padron peppers turned up that I realised we were onto the real thing - saltier, juicier and more flavoured than normal, these were prepared with love.

Then some pa tomaca (£3.50) an innocuous looking slice of bread with red paste smeared on top. And yet the taste, the depth of flavour, found in that one starter, so simple to make, yet dependent entirely on the grade of tomatoes, oil, garlic and salt used in its concoction.

I put the plate firmly by my side and didn’t let it stray for one minute, which was hard considering we had a long table where the dishes were passed continually around. Having ordered one of each of the 11 starters, sharing was certainly the order of the night.

It was a simple feast - chunky slices of fried chorizo, squid with a moreish aioli, Spanish olives and bread.

Highlights included the gambas chilli garlic (£8) - huge juicy garlicky prawns whose juices ran down our fingers.

The patatas bravas (£6), which can be made so badly, was another rousing success, as was the Manchego cheese with roasted almonds (£6), and a whole round slice of pan fried goats cheese, wood roasted cherry tomatoes and honey (£7). We were dining in style.

The carnivores were catered for with the meatballs (£6/£10) which were well seasoned as they nestled in the their tomato sauce served in a Mediterranean ramekin

But for me the Spanish omelette was the true test. So easy to get wrong and often misconstrued as a flan or even a quiche, yes the density is important but the egg cannot overwhelm the clean taste of potatoes.

Timing is also crucial, not too runny or overcooked, The Crown’s version being spot on. Served cold as I’d hoped, you could really taste the slices of potatoes, again the ingredients being paramount, and the soft sweet onions served in the dense wedge of Spanish simplicity.

The paella (£15)is made especially by the general manager Davide, such is his speciality and passion, was another delight, and we all tried a mouthful as it was passed around the table cooked with its authentic mix of chicken, squid and pork, perfectly cooked.

All of which was washed down of course with some fabulous Spanish wine, as the singer grew in confidence, the volume rose and the first dancers appeared arms raised, ready to show their appreciation with their feet.

While we didn’t make full use of the mains, preferring to share the numerous starters as they do in Spain, it was still a very reasonable £22 each at the end of the meal.

So if you fancy a fun night out with some really good authentic food and wine, bear in mind that it’s Spanish night with live music and a special menu every Thursday at The Crown. Just remember though - the pa tomaca is mine.