Upstairs is mainly a bar, with the main dining room downstairs. This is a tapas restaurant with an Australian chef and an English owner, which doesn’t sound promising but actually turns out well. The premises are quite cramped and completely full this evening as on my previous visit. Here are notes from the last meal I had here. This tapas restaurant was heaving this evening. The menu was appealing, with various classic tapas dishes plus a few variations using seasonal ingredients. A good example of this was a salad of Cornish crab, the crab meat covered with a layer of tender peas and baby broad beans and garnished with pea shoots; this simple dish had excellent ingredients which worked well together (5/10).
Tortilla (Spanish omelette) was well made (3/10) as was patata brava, potatoes covered with slightly spicy tomato sauce (4/10). Scallops were pleasant but were not of the very best quality, though they were cooked correctly; the supposedly spicy dressing with them was a little bland (3/10). Tuna tartare with broad beans and green salsa was very pleasant, but the best dish was a chorizo with haricot beans and tomatoes. What stood out was the superb quality chorizo, which can often be a little stringy, and sometime covered in too much oil. In this case the meat was excellent and there was no hint of greasiness (5/10). Bread was rather dull and a fraction stale (1/10). Service was friendly and efficient. The wine list is a little unbalanced, mostly Spanish and Italian, and flipping from sub £30 wines quickly up to very serious wines like Gaja and Unico, with not much in between. Fagus 2004 at £41 for a £15 wine was no bargain but is a very well made wine.
Below is a meal from November 2005 by way of comparison.
Acorn-fed Iberico ham from Jabugo (perhaps the finest Spanish ham) was superb, sweet and with lovely texture (6/10). Chorizo was so much better than the usual tapas, where it is often hard or stringy. Here it was cooked in Asturian cider and was tender yet still with retaining its spicy nature (4/10). Tortilla i.e. Spanish omelette had good texture (3/10) while tiger prawns char-grilled with chilli and rosemary were served in their shells and on a skewer of rosemary (4/10).
Tuna carpaccio with baby broad beans and salsa verde beans had good quality tuna, tender beans and a pleasant though not dazzling salsa (4/10). Piquillo peppers were filled with salt cod and had a pleasingly robust tapenade as garnish (5/10). Braised artichokes with borlotti beans were served warm, cooked with winter greens and truffle salsa (3/10). This is some of the best tapas in London, and service was brisk and efficient. Coffee was pleasant if very small in volume. The wine list was rather weak though there are plenty of cheap choices; I would have expected better Spanish wines than this. Still, overall, who could complain?