London Spanish Taste
01 April, 2016
World cuisines converge on London and Spain’s contribution is no exception. The story goes back a long way, to when a handful of immigrant chefs turned up with the intention of staying. That was just the beginning. Nowadays, Spanish cuisine is well established there. In great establishments and in the guise of some great names. Iberian presa and paleta, chorizo and pollo al chilindrón no longer require translation. Similarly, no introduction is required for such names as Juan Mari Arzak, Nacho Manzano, Eneko Atxa or Dabiz Muñoz. Not even Albert Adrià or the Roca brothers, even though their ventures in London have thus far proved fleeting – the former, in the Café Royal and the latter, on the first stop of their forthcoming tour. The present offers bites worthy of nostalgia-free refuge, while the future promises to be equally appetising.
Starred. Ametsa, managed by Juan Mari and Elena Arzak, is the first Spanish restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star in London, and just a few months after opening at that. They offer creative cuisine of Basque origin, in the form of a tapa with tea at four o’clock, as well as lunch for just a few pounds featuring a tasting menu with an immaculate parade of dishes. Their wine list shows special sensibilities for wines with soul and Spanish varieties.
With a “barra” (bar counter). Between Nieves Barragán’s different Barrafina – where there’s always a queue to try their regional Spanish tapas – and Donostia, with their pintxos and other nods to the finest Basque cuisine, you will be hard put to choose where to nibble on tasties at a reasonable price. However, if your thing is grills, go for Lurra.
With a history. Boasting four venues in London, and others still to come, Nacho Manzano’s Ibérica restaurants showcase the pull and the consistency of traditional Spanish cooking. Produce with designation of origin, generous helpings and an all-enveloping interior design are key to the success of a label which reaches as far afield as Manchester and Leeds.
Venerable. Boasting a team of chefs trained by the great names in Spanish haute cuisine, Alquimia is a must-visit restaurant for tasting fine rice in London. All of them, including the paellas, are served in portions for two, and there is also an assortment of other dishes on the menu.
Classy. There are very few places where cocktail culture carries as much weight as in London. Hence, Javier de las Muelas and his signature cocktails just had to set up in that city. Dry Martini London, at the Meliá White House - London, boasts an admirable nursery of mixologists who even create themed cocktails in the adjoining experimental kitchen.
In addition to these proposals, keep a look out for the long-awaited opening of the London StreetXo, while the restaurant Eneko Atxa is due to unveil in the One Aldwych Hotel in Convent Garden.
The Halkin By COMO. This hotel is synonymous with authenticity and distinction. Surrounded by embassies, with a siting as tranquil as it is near to the shopping bustle around Harrod’s, this hotel has spacious, sought-after rooms. Their luxury amenities and à la carte breakfast are also among their fortes.
IGH London Park Lane. If you want to sleep like a king, what better than to lodge in this former royal residence a stone’s throw away from Hyde Park? Their bar, restaurant and rooms have enviable views and noteworthy floral arrangements.
Meliã White House. Close to Soho and to major tourist attractions, the architecture of this hotel is an inducement on its own. The renovated rooms and the access to The Level Floor will enliven your stay all the more.
Text by Belén Parra of Gastronomistas
Images courtesy of the establishments
01 April, 2016