The only thing worse than eating crap food is eating overpriced crap food. Wanting to spare the blushes of a certain chain of restaurant that epitomises said axiom, let’s just say that anywhere I can think of would be better than that place. This may seem like a rather bold claim but I do not jest. Others wholeheartedly agree with me. Unfortunately such visit was before my serious food writing days, so I did not even have the consolation open to me that I do now. Rubbishing and otherwise making fun of said restaurant. It makes up somewhat for an unpleasant evening.
Yet, the converse is also true. What is better than eating good food? Eating good food at a bargain price.
Sourdough. Crispy yet soft in the middle. Excellence mixed with with the garlic emulsion.
Spinach croquetas, roasted pine nut alioli. These were a real treat. Crunchy texture, creamy inside, a delight.
Garlic bread. Cheesy, with chives, and garlic emulsion liberally smeared across it. Perhaps a bit too much garlic here as although these were not bad, it seemed like a bit of overkill. Just like how some places seem to love olive oil oh so much.
Grilled octopus, crispy garlic and tarragon alioli. Crispy on the outside, soft and tender inside. I loved the contrast of texture, the taste of char with garlic and the bounce of the meat.
Esqueixada de bacalla, sashimi grade raw cod, tomato, black olive, red pepper, crispy sourdough slivers. Ok but perhaps the weakest of the mains. Although it was not bad, it did not really have a spark to set it apart or alight.
Velveted hake, anchovy and cava cream and morels mushrooms. Creamy and carefully cooked. Cooked just the right side of raw, doused in cream with meaty mushrooms to soak up the sauce on top, this was a real surprise. Something to have again.
Braised oxtail canelones, nevat cheese cream. A dish certainly meant for two (note the two spoons), this was oxtail and pasta submerged in cream. While this might sound too decedent to some, it was all the better for me. With a liberal stuffing of oxtail, enclosed with firm pasta and more cream, this was a great finale. So much so that I admit that I ate more than my half.
At the end, what made this even better was a glance at the bill. This was good food for a fair, wallet-friendly price. So this is how I left, with stomach full and happy and pocket just a little lighter. If only more places could be like this. Although maybe not, because then I would have to worry about my weight gain. Now that would be a bigger problem.
A quiet eating 8/10.
Lunch (2 course equivalent) was GBP18 per person excluding drinks and service.
64 Dean St, Soho,
London W1D 4QG