Tapas and Spanish wine at Bankside, the latest Camino is open

Jul 21, 15 Tapas and Spanish wine at Bankside, the latest Camino is open

Posted by in All

I was invited to visit the new Camino at Bankside recently and what a lovely evening it turned out to be. Although it was your typical English summer (read, cloudy and not that warm) we opted to sit outside to begin our tapas adventur The menu was created by Executive Chef Nacho del Campo. He hails from the Basque region so there are some definite influences from this part of Spain. We started off with chipiriones, which are one of my favourite tapas. I have to say these were fatantastic – light and cruncy but not greasy.  The bar has a good size selection of sherries and so we opted for a fino and a manzanilla to go with the chipirones. I love sherry and it’s such a great wine to pair with tapas. We also ordered a plate of jamon croquettas. I don’t know how they do it but at Camino they manage to make croquettas that don’t fall apart at the first bite and are awfully toothsome. I could have eaten the whole plate by myself but I saved room for the next plate. The restaurant has 3 distinct areas downstairs, a long bar to stand at, as they do in Spain, a jamon counter, where you can watch them carve up the jamon and a dining area which is decorated with Spanish tiles and features high counters and bar stools. For me, I found it to be very reminiscent of the more modern tapas bars in Barcelona. But, back to the jamon. The jamon they have is not just any old jamon. They feature D.O. Teruel and D.O. Guijuelo ham, aged 20 months and 24 months respectively. They also have a 32 month aged and and a 36 month aged jamon from the legendary producer, Cinco Jotas. The 36 month aged jamom is extremely intense, for me a bit too much but my dining companion loved it. I let her finish off the plate. I later found out that you can...

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My Top 5 Favourite Tapas Bars in Barcelona

Feb 18, 15 My Top 5 Favourite Tapas Bars in Barcelona

Posted by in Food and Wine, Travel

I spent most of last Autumn hanging out in Barcelona and while I was there, I discovered plenty of little tapas bars around the well worn tourist path. There are SO many crap tapas bars in Barcelona. I hope my little list will at least give you brief glimpse into what you can find if you scratch the surface and get away from the tourist ghetto of Las Ramblas and Carrer de Ferran. As Barcelona is full of tapas bars, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting one, the ones that I found were, for the most part, recommended to me by friends who live there or colleagues who visit often. So without further ado, here they are in no particular order: Bar del Pla (Born):  I found this place one night after we had visited a few other tapas bars in the area. The Born is part of the Barrio Gotic and Tourist Central but there are still great places to be found. Bar del Pla, while not exactly hidden, is not on a main street in the Born but off one of  its little alleyways and from the outside doesn’t look like much, although it always seemed to be packed with a mix of locals and tourists. Don’t let the tourists put you off, the menu features fresh and modern tapas with a twist and traditional foods as well as fresh salads. I remember ordering grilled calamares with chickpeas – so delicious, we ordered a second round! We also had a sardines on toast combo with mango and rocket, another inspired combination. The wine list is a mix of Spanish and foreign wines as well as house vermouth – which I love! The prices are a bit more expensive than the usual tapas bars but worth it and the staff was very helpful in making recommendations. I’ve been told the staff speak English, although as we all spoke Spanish, we didn’t put them to the test. Carrer Montcada, num. 2, 08003 Barcelona,...

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Tapas and sherry at Barrafina

Jan 21, 12 Tapas and sherry at Barrafina

Posted by in Food and Wine, Spain, wine bars

There’s nothing better then a tasty snack while having a drink with friends. Wandering around Soho after a wine tasting the other day we stopped in at  Barrafina for a couple of tapas and a glass or two of sherry. Barrafina is a typical tapas bar, no tables just a long L-shaped bar lined with barstools and a thin counter that runs along the one wall of the bar where you stand and nosh/drink. One more thing, it’s as bright as any tapas bar in Spain, lit up like the middle of the day in summertime Spain. We ordered a bottle of La Gitana manzanilla (£20) while standing at the counter. If you don’t know sherry, start with a manzanilla. Dry and nutty, with a salty tinge to it, I love manzanilla, you’re not going to find fruit in a manzanilla but it’s a great with olives and almonds, among other things. We had a plate of pimientos de padron as well. All the food is the best quality they can find and you can taste it. Pan con tomate followed,  a juicy, very light tomato puree covering the bread and utterly delicious. We followed that with little chorizo sausages wrapped in thin potato slices, divine, if a little bit greasy, so beware when eating. If you sit at the bar, you have to order something a bit more substantial and there are plenty of specials, including a raw seafood bar. The night we were there we had the special of  fresh pollack in a tomato salsa, the pollack was delicate and fresh, the chunky tomato sauce full of garlic slivers. The wine list is not very long but there are plenty of good choices and John, our bartender/waiter let us try a couple of different red wines before we settled on Grand Recosind Crianza 2005 (£28). A blend of garnacha, cabernet and carinena from the Costa Brava, savoury but still having red fruit on the finish, supple tannins rolling over my tongue. We...

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