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Tendido Cuatro

108 New Kings Road, London, England, SW6 4LY, United Kingdom

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A sibling of Cambio de Tercio, this restaurant also serves Spanish food, but in a more casual style. This was an “off menu” meal. Tuna tartare was served with avocado flavoured with garlic, and a little tomato seed pulp – the avocado was smooth and had good flavour, and the tuna was well seasoned (14/20). A goat cheese salad was nicely dressed and the leaves were fresh (13/20).

On a little grilled bread were slices Spanish ham, and sliced tomatoes, the latter having good taste, which is a rare thing in a tomato in the UK (13/20). Ham croquettes were excellent, delicate and having lovely flavour (15/20), as was a couple of the modern patatas bravas that they do at Cambio de Tercio (15/20). A pair of prawns were cooked a la plancha, as was some squid, which had no hint of rubbery texture and was very enjoyable (14/20).

Grilled asparagus was also good (14/20). Galician octopus was grilled, and again avoided any chewiness, though perhaps a little more seasoning would have been good here (13/20). A tender baby lamb chop then followed, garnished with herbs (14/20). A little grilled chorizo followed (14/20). I was pleased to see that they have started to make home-made bread: tomato bread, olive rolls, white rolls and rolls with ham were very good (16/20). Finally we had seafood paella with good rice, though the squid in this case was a little overcooked (13/20), finishing with yoghurt foam with passion fruit, which was refreshing (14/20).

What follows are notes from a meal in February 2009.

This sister restaurant of Cambio de Tercio has now been re-launched as a gourmet paella restaurant. I think this is quite an astute marketing move, since there are endless tapas places now in London, but where can you actually get paella? In addition, the previous tapas selections are still available. Tapas is mostly £5 - £6 per dish, with paella £12 per person. The lighting has improved since my last visit, and although I am not normally a fan of music in restaurants, the Spanish guitar music playing tonight seemed wholly appropriate.

The wine list has also changed somewhat from my previous visit. At the top end the lovely Alion 2004 has now nudged up to £89.50 for a wine that costs around £34 retail, Marques de Caceres “MC” (an upmarket version of their standard Rioja) 2005 is £46 for a wine you can buy for perhaps £15 in the shops if you can find it. For me this is an underrated wine and the pick of the list. As you contemplate the menu options you can nibble on excellent green olives.

Boquerones featured baby anchovies marinated in olive oil, sherry vinegar and herbs, and were very tasty (13/20). The patatas bravas unfortunately were still a pale imitation of the superb version at Cambio, in this case the potatoes distinctly soggy, while even the tomato sauce lacked the bite of the Cambio version (12/20). A tortilla was bland and needed firmer texture as well as seasoning (12/20). King prawns cooked simply on the griddle were overcooked, though still had decent flavour (12/20).

Finally we got to the paella, which was for two persons only and served in a large pan. The rice had good taste, and the mussels were fine, but the chicken was somewhat dried out, while the squid was a little chewy and the prawns again tasted slightly overcooked. Overall, a pleasant dish but not quite what I was hoping for (12/20). Service was very friendly.

The notes below were from my first. less good, visit in September 2008.

Tendido Cuatro is an offshoot of Cambio de Tercio, which also has the simpler Tendido Cero opposite it in the Old Brompton Road. The names are seemingly references to terms in bullfighting: Cambio de Tercio is when the fighters change, Tendido Cero the best seat in the house, and Tendido Cuatro? Well, the connection eluded the member of staff I spoke to. Any Spanish speakers please chime in. The narrow dining room has a wooden floor and a brightly coloured, low ceilinged dining room. Walls are orange, the ceiling red, with modern portraits on the walls. The noise level is high, and does not need the mix of pop music and flamenco that adds to the din. The menu is tapas, with a set of choices very similar to that of Cambio de Tercio. They are mostly £5 - £7, and you need three and no more than four, dishes per person. The wine list is mostly Spanish and mostly red, which is sensible given the hearty nature of the food and the relative strength of Spain’s winemakers in red wine. The excellent Torres Mas La Plana 2003 is £53.50 for a wine that costs about £23 in the shops, while the even better Alion 2003 is £79 for a wine with a retail price of about £38. The list starts with a glass of wine for £4.25.

Spinach croquettes (£6) were fried nicely, but the filling was disproportionately mash, and the spinach a little chewy; moreover they were not served very hot (11/20). Pata negra (£17) is a generous plate of superb bellota (i.e. acorn fed) pata negra from “5 Jotas”, a large producer. Patatas bravas (£6) are in the same modern style as at Cambio de Tercio, though here they were more sloppily presented, and the potato could have been a little crisper, though the spicing was spot on (14/20).

A tortilla (Spanish omelette: £5.25) had rather bulky pieces of potato that was a little hard, but had a good garlic mayonnaise on the side (12/20). Tuna was cooked rather too long, served on a bed of caramelised onion and raisins, which brought a sweetness that was asking for an acidic taste counterpart (12/20). Griddled garlic mushrooms were cooked OK, but were just cheap farmed mushrooms, garnished with some tiny shoots that added no obvious flavour (11/20). Prawns with chilli and olive oil (£6.50) were fairly tender though cooked a little longer than ideal, but would have been improved with more chilli (12/20). For dessert vanilla ice cream was clearly shop-bought and of fairly low quality, the Pedro Ximines sherry poured over it did its best to disguise this, but failed (10/20). Chocolate tart with coffee ice cream was similarly just poor (10/20). Service was friendly if rather chaotic at times. Our bill was a little high as we had the pata negra and a good wine, but overall the price seemed just a bit high for the standard of cooking and ingredients on display. It is not that far from here to go to Cambio de Tercio, where you can get the real thing for not a lot more money.

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  • Chris

    From a Spanish friend of mine: I don’t know much about bullfighting but Tendido Cuatro (4) is one of the areas in the bullring are the stands o terraces, I think is a good place to see the show but not the best, is cheaper than tendido cero. Maybe that restaurant is gonna be not as expensive as the others...looks like that isn't it?

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