Morada Brindisa: Spat-out (July 2016)

Eating out is generally considered to be a joyful experience. Doing so regularly, I clearly subscribe to such a view. I also recognise that popular restaurants – understandably – want to turn their tables, to draw in as many visitors as possible and also to make a fatter profit. A recent Saturday evening visit to Morada Brindisa left me generally depressed. Rarely have I felt so much like a metaphorical item being processed on a conveyer belt, spat in and out of the restaurant in less than an hour with barely a whiff or personal service. This was all the more disappointing since I have visited its sister outlet Brindisa Soho on several occasions and rated it, and further, because Morada looked promising at the outset. The feel in Morada is quite authentically Spanish in terms of décor and music. Note the tiling on the floor and the 360-degree bar counter. Time spent here I (naively) thought might be a bit like being in Madrid or Barcelona, perhaps leisurely propping up the bar, nibbling on some tapas and shooting the breeze. My comrade and I in fact opted for a table as we had assumed this might be more intimate. Perhaps this was the first mistake since we were shown to the back of the restaurant despite the place not being full and I could also not help noticing how closely packed together the tables were. We decided to share a selection of tapas and a bottle of wine, hardly controversial in itself. We were informed that, as in Spain, the food would come when the kitchen had prepared it. So far, so good. Our wine arrived first and while it was served at an inappropriately warm temperature (even for a Ribera del Duero red), this was the least of our problems. Visualise our table now: two water glasses, two wine glasses and one wine bottle. Already quite crowded. Now picture the same table five minutes later. Seven of our nine tapas dishes had arrived and the scene was reminiscent of trying to put ill-matched pieces of a jigsaw together in a space that was never going to be appropriate. Message to restaurant: get bigger tables or maybe have slightly (more) coordination and consideration of diners’ needs in the kitchen. One further unfortunate consequence of this set up was that almost as soon as the last forkful of any dish had been finished, our officious waitress scooped up said item and whisked it way. Intimate or restful this was not. Oh, and the food itself, was barely average. The ‘pan de coca’ (tomato bread) was served beautifully in a do-it-yourself style, but was stingy on the tomatoes; the Spanish sausage skewer contained a trio of greasy and chewy globules of almost unidentifiable meat; and the mixed roasted vegetable platter almost lent a new definition to the word bland. I could go on. For c£40/head, I could definitely find better value and more enjoyment elsewhere.