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Cambio de Tercio

163 Old Brompton Road, London, England, SW5 0LJ, United Kingdom

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Cambio de Tercio serves some of the most authentic Spanish food in London, going beyond basic tapas dishes to a more ambitious level of cooking than can be found elsewhere in the capital. With its Spanish guitar music playing in the background and the extensive and moderately marked-up wine list, an evening here is quite reminiscent of eating in Spain, except for the London weather. I have eaten many times here over the years and the repertoire of dishes is extensive; there always seem to be new options to try.  

A recent meal here began with gazpacho poured over lobster and cherry ice cream. The soup had lovely depth of flavour, and the lobster was tender; the cherry ice cream was an interesting extra element, but the dish was carried by the fine gazpacho (16/20).

Next was a modern take on Spanish omelette, served in a cocktail glass, with a layer of caramelised onion, topped with egg yolk and potato foam with slivers of potato crisps. This was a rich dish, but the potato provided a welcome textural balance and offset the richness (15/20).

Smoked sardines with apple and foie gras was another good dish. The sardines had strong flavour, and the apple’s acidity nicely balanced the richness of the foie gras (16/20). Hake was carefully cooked, served with good asparagus, baby leeks and salsa verde. The dish was let down by poor razor clams, that were distinctly chewy; at one time in my life I assumed that razor clams were inherently like this, until I ate versions in Japan, but also at some top UK restaurants such as Kitchin (14/20). 

Veal cheeks were served in a patty, with a salad with vinegar dressing and chips, a sort of deconstructed burger minus the bun. The star was the veal cheek itself, beautifully tender, the vinegar dressing of the salad providing some balance to its inherent richness (16/20). 

Dessert was a deconstructed cheesecake served in a cocktail glass, using Manchego cheese and having enough fruit flavour to balance the cheese (15/20). Overall this meal was between 15/20 and 16/20, slightly less consistent than some previous meals that I have eaten here. However the dishes are inventive and the best dishes were very good indeed.

The bill came to £107 a head, including a lovely bottle of Rioja Alta 904 2000 at £88.50. Service was excellent. Although the restaurant was packed, even on a Tuesday evening, the topping up of bread, water and wine was exemplary. Cambio always feels to me authentically Spanish, and indeed a lot of the customers here are evidently Spanish, enjoying a little taste of home. 

Further reviews: 22nd Dec 2012

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