Back in 2004, top-notch Spanish importer Brindisa hired rising star chef José Pizarro to open a tapas restaurant on the corner of Borough Market. This original site – it has since spawned branches across town – became the first place you could get a decent – but affordable – plate of proper tapas in town.
Fast-forward to present-day: Pizarro has moved on, as have many of the other original players, and the queues have calmed down (though it’s still busy), but there’s still a charm to this spot. Cracked concrete floors, upbeat pop music and wooden wine-bar furniture. It’s guaranteed fun.
As for the food, it’s mostly very good. Don’t miss the pink-middled, fatty-edged lamb chops, which you should eat alongside a plate of the excellent escalivida (a Catalan dish of grilled veg: here aubergines, peppers and slivers of pickled onions, with smears of black olive tapenade and a few green olives) and some of the moreish pan de pincel (garlic-and-herb bread). Do also get a wedge of the soft, eggy tortilla. But on a recent visit, there were two duds: calamari bulked out by being served on a stick of bread, plus a stingy, under-dressed salad of yellow courgettes.
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