Sabor: Taste the difference

Expectations run high when you combine a chef whose CV includes Fino and Barrafina with the restrauters behind the likes of Gymkhana, Xu and Bao. However, Sabor (Spanish for ‘taste’) mostly pulls it off and delivers a more authentic Spanish encounter than many in London. As with other restaurants under the management of the Sethi family, a lot of the experience is a function of the ambience. Much thought (and probable expense) has been put into Sabor, a three-floored venture on the edge of Mayfair comprising a sherry bar, communal dining counter and sit-down restaurant. Per Hide, the three areas are unified by an impressive (in this case, wrought-iron) staircase. Beyond this, there are tiles that would not look out of place in an Andalucian kitchen as well as large communal tables and open kitchens, both bedecked with fresh, local produce. Most of the serving staff are Spanish too. Despite being around a year since Sabor opened, when my comrade and I visited on a recent weekday lunchtime, the whole dining space was packed – and it is easy to see why. Top-quality tapas and pretty decent mains are provided by a fast and (almost too) enthusiastic team, and everything is priced reasonably. Tapas comes in at around  £7-10/plate, while mains cost in the region of £20/head. The menu is mercifully brief, which makes choosing easier and specials (displayed on a blackboard above the counter) vary daily. We kicked off with three tapas offerings, all of which impressed highly. Red Mediterranean prawns were as light and juicy as the morcilla (black pudding) was earthy and hearty. However, the highlight was the tortilla, which had to rank among the best I have ever sampled. Done in a Galician style, the egg yolk was a beautifully violent hue of orange and still runny when the tortilla was split. This was rich, deeply satisfying and very moreish. After such a promising start, the Segovian suckling pig main (photographed) which we shared was a relative anti-climax. The crackling was delicious and the gravy side a nice touch, but there was a degree of monotony and none of the culinary joy I felt towards the starters. At least a perfectly-executed green side salad acted as foil to the pig. Overall, a ‘muy bien’ for Sabor. There is every reason to return.

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