The near-universal reaction, when I mentioned to friends and colleagues that I was heading out for tapas, was "that's a bit posh for you". Well yes, I am usually a woman of simple tastes, but on occasion, I can be more adventurous, and that occasion was Friday evening in Richmond.

My sister Claire and I had booked into Number 29 Tapas Bar, a tiny little bar and restaurant on Frenchgate, almost overlooking the junction where you can either wind downwards to The Station and swimming pool, or head upwards into the Market Place.

It was just gone 5.30pm when we arrived, but Number 29, invitingly lit from the outside, was buzzing with customers, some dining, others sharing an early drink or three.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Number 29 Tapas Bar on Frenchgate in Richmond

Our table, pleasingly, was under a sign denoting that we were in "naughty corner" – a little alcove just off the bar with a high table and stools that was the only slightly tucked-away spot in the snug interior. We mused on what naughtiness we could get up to, bearing in mind the clock hadn't yet struck six and we were both driving, before the arrival of the menu drove any other thoughts from our minds – our choices required full attention.

Darlington and Stockton Times: We were sitting in Naughty Corner, a little alcove near the bar area

There were two sharing platters on offer – one with meat, and the other a vegetarian option – plus 15 smaller dishes. The menu advised one or two as a snack, and three or more for something "more substantial".

Who were we to argue with the experts – we decided on three each plus one more for luck. From our vantage point near the bar, we could see other meals coming out of the busy kitchen, and they looked mouth-wateringly good. When ours arrived, beautifully presented on a wooden platter, we were not disappointed. It was a feast for the eyes as much as for the tastebuds with the vibrant colours of the food set off wonderfully by the serving dishes.

It was difficult to know where to start, but I launched into the piquanté peppers first. Stuffed with garlic and herb cheese, they were sharp, delicious and a had a real zing. A great opener.

Claire began with her garlic mushrooms in white wine cream sauce and declared them a triumph – large, juicy specimens swimming in the smooth sauce, which was mopped up wonderfully by the bread selection (three different types, all light with a tasty crust).

Darlington and Stockton Times: Our tapas board - a feast for the eyes as much as the taste buds

Next stop for me was to try the Canarian potatoes with Mojo Rojo. I wasn't exactly sure what I was getting, but operating on the theory you can never go wrong if you order something which says "potatoes" I was happy to be proved right. A quick bit of Google research told me that they are a typical dish of the Canary Islands – boiled, salted new potatoes served with a spicy and smokey sauce. Their wrinkled appearance from the salt gives them a slightly fusty appearance, but that was solved with a smothering of the Mojo Rojo sauce, which added a nice bit of heat. The fluffy potatoes also went well with the tomatoey sauce from one of our other dishes, the meatballs topped with cheddar cheese.

Darlington and Stockton Times: The Canarian potatoes tasted much better than first impressions would suggest

These were outstanding. Three large meatballs covered in melted cheddar and served in a thick, rich tomato sauce. A proper treat on a dreich late-autumn evening.

We were flagging a bit by this point, but powered on, interspersing our dishes with houmous and bread, and the selection of cured meats which was our rogue seventh choice. Probably the least memorable of our selections were the Spanish chicken mini-fillets, marinated in garlic, paprika and cumin, but that's probably only because we loved the others so much.

We managed to clear everything apart from the last few piquanté peppers, but couldn't even contemplate a dessert, although those we saw going to other tables were very artfully presented. Service throughout was really, really good – friendly, knowledgeable and chatty. Our waitress even came back to check that my second drink – freshly squeezed orange juice with lemonade – had been "orangey" enough as she was worried she hadn't put as much in as she did for the first one. Both were great.

The bill, which included three soft drinks and half a lager, came to £57.85, which felt like very good value, bearing in mind that on reflection, carried away by the ambience, we had probably ordered two more dishes than we needed.

Our table was needed for later diners, so we hopped down from our high seats to head back out into the chilly November night, musing on what had been our favourite dishes. The peppers were my second favourite, and Claire put her garlic mushrooms in runner-up spot, but we both agreed the meatballs were the standout. Thus proving that even when trying to be "posh," my tastebuds brought me right back to the hearty, comforting type of food I love the best.

Number 29 Tapas Bar

29 Frenchgate, Richmond, DL10 4HZ

01748 850491

Open 12pm-10pm, Sunday to Thursday and 12pm-11pm on Fridays and Saturdays

Ratings (out of ten): Food quality 9 Surroundings 9 Service 9 Value 9