The menu reads nicely, with bar snacks such as smoked almonds, padron peppers, smoked anchovies and the like. Charcuteries and skewers from the grill complete the page, and turning over the tapas dishes are listed by meat, fish and vegetable. There was so much we wanted that in the end, it probably would have been easier to tell our waiter what we didn't want.
We started off well. Sea bass carpaccio (above) with blood orange and deep fried capers was well balanced and pretty to the eye.
Lamb with brown butter and pumpkin gnocchi was similarly delicious, in particular the gnocchi drawing delighted gasps from us. Another gnocchi dish, this time with trompettes and Tallegio was pillow-like, earthy and unctuous with the crunch of the migas (breadcrumbs) on top.
Iberico & foie gras burger was highly recommended by others. Little deep fried crispy onion rings were intensely sweet on top of the meaty burger and the pickled chillis on the side complemented it. Pigs ears were salty and crisp, jamon Iberico was silky, creamy pig. And then it went downhill.
Short rib of beef with polenta managed to be strangely flavourless. Crispy squid with chilli aioli was well fried but the batter lacked seasoning. It also had something in common with the braised and seared octopus; the portion was so stingy that even at half of the £7.40 full price we still felt ripped off. Barely a whole tentacle was presented to us. We were agape.
After a second round of charcuterie and some meaty skewers from the grill to sate the hunger, we hit the desserts which were pleasant, if unremarkable. Though we'd had a host of good dishes, the mean portion sizes left a bad taste in our mouths and we left £41 lighter each, well aware that we would have hit at least £65 per head were it not for the soft opening. For that price, I'd stick to the far superior Barrafina.
23 Catherine Street
Tel: 020 7836 3680