Tapas Brindisa Broadwick Street (November 2012)

Eating food for pleasure ought to be done in relaxing circumstances and what really makes Brindisa for me is that despite the concept being one of relatively informal tapas, my dining comrade and I were able to enjoy a two-hour lunch here without ever feeling rushed or that the serving staff resented our presence. On arrival, we were not put under any pressure to order, the waiter told us in which order he would bring the dishes to our table (a relative rarity in tapas places) and whether we were happy with the order he suggested (an even greater rarity) and the gaps between dishes were perfectly spaced. All of this was achieved in a restaurant clearly very busy on a Friday lunchtime. Correspondingly, the atmosphere was great, loud and buzzy, but not to the extent that we were unable to make ourselves heard. The food and drink were also superb. To begin, padron peppers, which were not too salty and boquerones (white anchovies marinated in oil), a dish not too common in the UK, but a staple in Spain and well executed here. Our meat platter that followed was also faultless, a good range, fresh and tender, highly flavoursome. Tortilla was a slight let-down, somewhat flabby and greasy. Cheese, to close, marked a return to form, an interesting selection including Cabba del Tiétar (semi-cured goat's cheese) and Idiazabal (smoked sheep's cheese), although the blue cow's cheese was somewhat astringent and was far too cold, perhaps having come straight from the fridge. A lovely Amontillado with good nutty notes was a perfect match for the food. I would encourage more restaurants to adopt Brindisa's approach.