Hola Foodventurers! It was a Saturday afternoon in Sunny Soho, where spontaneity with a hint of desperation brought me to the bustling venue of Tapas Brindisa after a disappointing visit to the Carnaby Street Food Market.
Movement was futile and hatred for humans rose while queuing for some unexciting food stalls with silly prices, meanwhile the sun was (ironically) cooking us half to death. We needed to retreat. Luckily – with the expertise of fellow food blogger FoodPunk Joe and his merry missus –Tapas Brindisa was our option of escape.
Once inside the Brindisa, we are guided by busy yet friendly staff to a table already occupied by diners and told to expect a ten minute wait before service. Seems crude but actually a very good sign that business is booming here – so we proceed to the menu.
Since its tapas, we ordered six dishes to sample while the lady of the party accompanied the meal with glossy red wine. Now I will confess that Spanish tapas is not a favourite in my food list, so the Foodpunk duo was hoping to convert me as well as wow me in this rare experience.
Let’s see if they did below.
(Warning – my Spanish isn’t good and I don’t trust Google translator enough so please refer to the menu above for dish meanings).
First was the Tortilla Espanola, a potato and onion omelette served with aioli. On its own – fine texture-wise and taste was pleasant like a mild and savoury cake, but it seemed to lack a punch as the taste of potato and onion was quite bland. Add the aioli however and now we’re talking! All of a sudden there’s that Mediterranean wow factor of creamed garlic and olive oil oozing through the potato and onion – compliments to the chef for the sauce!
The Chorizo de Leon was satisfying, the smokiness of the chorizo stealing the spotlight in its healthy bed of sourdough and rocket. Then there’s the Patatas Bravas y aioli, which like the tortilla was quite bland until the aioli worked its magic. I was intrigued by the Pan de Coca due to its subtle yet fresh orchard flavours of tomato and garlic, it somewhat summarised the Mediterranean cuisine and can bring nostalgia to those who have visited the lands – otherwise you might find this dish quite boring.
The Queso de Oveja Fuentillezjos was also an interesting dish as I never would have thought to combine honey with cheese… but it works! At first you wander what the heck is going on before the familiar flavours merge in your mouth providing a calm reassurance, while telling you that it may as well be cheesecake on the savoury side of the menu (without that biscuit base). The beetroot was also well done like sweet yet earthy crisps.
Finally was the Croquetas de jamon, these little spheres of golden fried heaven were my favourite of the lunch. Packed with soft cheesy and hammy savouriness that melt in your mouth!
Despite all of these lovely dishes, I was not converted to the blessed ways of Spanish tapas (sorry Foodpunk!), simply because it was not my style. I’m a man of sustenance, with need of a good plate of rice and meat with sauce or curry! However Tapas Brandisa was a very pleasant alternative to my norm food of choice and has triggered my curiosities to try more Spanish tapas, so I shall return!