This meal began with a technically interesting dish of cod brandade stuffed inside a tomato, served on thin crisp bread, drizzled with olive oil. The tomato itself (from Spain) had plenty of flavour, and the inherent saltiness of the brandade was not too strong and went well with the tomato, the crisp bread providing a texture contrast to the smooth brandade (16/20).
Yellowtail carpaccio came with finely diced mango and pickled onions. The bite of the fruit worked very well with the fish, which was of very good quality. When I tried this dish here once before it was a bit too sharp, but this time it had been improved and the level of acidity was just right (16/20). Anchovies came with apple and cucumber and were marinated in olive oil. This was a simple dish but again the balance was good, the apple cutting through the oiliness of the fish (15/20).
A new dish was a salad of butternut squash with crisp fried kale, clementine and goat cheese. This a logical mix of flavours, the fruit’s acidity working well with the cheese and the slight sweetness of the squash, the kale adding an extra texture (15/20). A regular on the menu is patatas bravas, a modern take on the classic tapas dish, here executed in the style of Sergi Arola in Madrid. I have eaten his version in Spain and this is a faithful reproduction (16/20).
Spelt risotto came with cod confit and poached egg. The spelt (hulled wheat) as a grain was an interesting change from the usual rice base, and the egg was enjoyably rich, though the large slab of cod on the side did not seem to me the most obvious pairing for the spelt (14/20).
The only misstep in the meal was quail glazed and stuffed with Iberico pork and served with quince and kale. The ingredients were a reasonable combination and the glaze on the quail was enjoyably rich, but the quail was undercooked, which was a shame (12/20). The meal ended with a pleasant rice pudding, though this is not a dish I can ever get overly excited about (13/20).
I was being taken here by someone so did not see the bill, but a typical cost per head with a modest bottle of wine to share would be around £65 or so. Service was friendly as ever, and Abel Lusa, the owner, is an amiable host.Book