Still reeling from the fabulous eats in New York I was feeling slightly down about being back. Thankfully all it took was a sunshine-soaked Saturday of eating – fat juicy Big Apple Hot Dog franks (heaps better than the dogs we ate in the actual Big Apple), bahn mi from the lovely Banhmi11 girls, the Ribman‘s HF-spiked baby back rolls (all at eat.st) and a stunning array of bijoux plates at Copita – to lift me back up, and remind me just how great we have it here in London.
The latter, a cosy tapas nook on one of the quieter streets of Soho, charmed me immediately with its weathered wooden counters, checkerboard floors and gleaming white brick tiles. The delicious food was as effortless as the surroundings – a duo of Boquerones featured fleshy vinegary sardines (instead of the customary white anchovies) bathed in fruity parsley and chilli-specked olive oil.
Warm lightly-crumbed Pea and Fresh Cheese Croquets broke open to reveal vibrant green mousse-like innards, sweet from the pea and subtly laced with truffle oil.
A small bowl of Ajo Blanco (a traditional almond and garlic white gazpacho) was velvety and studded with sweet beetroot cubes, sharp grapes and roughly-chopped almonds. Rich, but nicely balanced.
Chicken Kiev was a golden ballotine oozing warm butter onto a bed of creamy white beans and tender spinach. Admittedly not the best kiev I’ve sunk my teeth into, but a very respectable version.
Turbot isn’t usually found on small plate menus (and priced rather reasonably at that) so we felt compelled to order it. An excellent decision – the fish, laid on a luscious broad bean and pancetta sauce, was faultless – barely opaque and firm yet yielding.
Pork Cheek Kebab came cocooned in a gorgeous chewy duvet of wood-fired bread. Nicely accented with a cool dollop of yoghurt and refreshing matchsticks of apple and kohlrabi.
Quail, Morcilla and Chestnut was another winner – moist crisp-skinned bird, intense black pudding morsels and smooth purée all worked together like a dream.
Well-fed, satisfied and with no room for dessert, we asked for the bill only to be brought a forgotten plate of Smoked Wild Mushrooms topped with a quivering molten Egg Yolk. Incredible last dish to a fantastic meal. The perfect welcome home.
26 D’arblay Street
London W1F 8EP
t. 020 7287 7797