Came on a Thursday with reservations. Service was great - which is a deal breaker for a restaurant in this price range. Ordered a bottle of bubbly that was kept chilled through out our meal. We ordered a few things, however the standout dishes were the pork belly and jamon croquettes. I also appreciated the fennel salad. In fact we ordered a second plate of croquettes because it was that good. No dessert was ordered since we stuffed ourselves with tapas. Small portions and surprisingly decently priced, but not necessarily on the low side.
The only negative was that the food can out too quickly and would have preferred a slightly slower pace.
The restaurant is in the lower level, so no natural light or views of outside. Despite this, the restaurant feels bright enough and not claustrophobic.
I would return, but for a special dinner. Total came to about £125 for about 7 plates and a bottle of bubbly for two of us. Applying our lousy dollar conversion rate, it's about 200 bucks. Not bad considering we ordered whatever we wanted and walked away feeling very satisfied.
A special call out for the host who was very kind and welcoming upon our entry and departure.
A good restaurant - it is a rather restaurant rather than tapas place. The setting is quite classy rather than a taps joint with white table cloths, etc.
Food is quite nice with lots of dishes executed well. Great venue for a weekend dinner with friends.
For me, I would like my Spanish place to feel more of a joint than a restaurant - the venue feels too formal for what it serves. The setting comes with the price as well - think it is more like 50-60gbp per head to eat full and 1/2 bottle each.
A sister restaurant of Barafina and serves great tapas as well. I went there a couple of time and every single time I was filled up with very delicious food.
Pimientos de padrón is usually a good tester dish for a tapas restaurant, and Fino does it really well. Another dish that you see in almost all tapas restaurants is tortilla Espanola and I can tell you not all tortilla Espanola is created equally. Fino probably has the best version I have tasted. Some restaurants give you a slice of tortilla, but here you get a whole one that shaped like a small wheel of cheese. As soon as you cut into it, you know why you get a whole one, because it is cooked just right and the middle is gooey and runny with egg, cheese and potato goodness. It is so delicious and enjoyable, nothing like the reheated, rubbery version from some restaurants. Octopus and Capers is a must try if you are into octopus. It is so tender and tasty. We suspect they have someone who's job is to massage the meat to tenderize it for hours.
Honestly, I haven't tried anything I don't like yet, so just go and order away. You won't be disappointed.
Fino is the grown up restaurant cousin of tapas restaurant Barrafina, one of the London Yelp's highest rated restaurants. Located in the foodie area of Charlotte Street, its discreet entrance on Rathbone Street may be just off the main drag but worth the detour
The only issue I had with Fino is that its underground location means no mobile phone signal (I'm with Vodafone), which made it a little hard to keep in touch with my late-running friend
The menu is subdivided into the different genres of tapas and it's definitely a good idea to come in a group to try more dishes. Tapas is the original small plates restaurant. I recognised quite a few dishes which crossover with Barrafina
My favourite dish of the night was seared cuttlefish wrapped with pancetta, which had rightly been recommended by our waitress. The cuttlefish had the perfect chewy texture, which was offset by the smoky salty pancetta and all brought together by a black squid ink sauce
There was also a nice pork belly with crispy skin and their signature Fino sandwich, comprising wind dried beef and tetilla cheese sandwiched between Swiss chard and crispy fried
Reminders of Barrafina included good ham croquetas and stuffed deep fried courgette flower
Somehow, we found space for dessert. Creme catalana was a well made Spanish version of creme brulee but we liked the mil hojas more. It was a almond heavy millefeuille with caramel sauce
Barrafina is fun, especially watching the chefs cook but if you can't be bothered to queue, come to Fino instead
Service - excellent
Food - great tapas, some of them really exquisite
Desert - so so, a small variety
Drinks - great wines and nice cocktails.
A great place to hang out with friends and enjoy a great dinner. A must see and taste in London
With memories of an excellent meal at the raucous Barrafina in mind, the bf and I dined at mother restaurant Fino tonight following a ballet at the Royal Opera House. We had a 10pm reservation and were politely informed that last orders must be in by 10:30. We quickly settled on a carafe of Espelt red wine and the following dishes:
+ Little Gem Lettuce with Pancetta and Anchovy - A dish that made it onto TimeOut's Top 100 Dishes in 2012, this salad was enjoyable but ultimately was our least favourite order of the night. The pancetta, anchovy, diced shallot, and herbs worked well together as a topping, but this could be recreated at home too easily.
+ Beetroot Salad with Picos Cheese - Beetroot and blue cheese is one of those classic combinations that I usually gravitate to on a menu. Fino offers an excellent rendition made with plenty of herbs and a strong Asturian blue cheese. With a grind of black pepper, this dish will satisfy any beetroot cravings.
+ Cuttlefish with Pancetta and Ink from the Plancha - The unanimous favourite of the evening, the cuttlefish wrapped in pancetta had an excellent charred flavour and extra kick from some finely diced garlic sprinkled on top. The ink sauce provided a flavourful coating for the tender cuttlefish and had a nice consistency.
+ Braised Lamb with Green Kale - Another enjoyable dish, the lamb fell apart at the touch of a fork. The kale tasted predominantly of garlic, but since I regularly double the amount of garlic a recipe calls for when cooking at home, I welcome Fino's (and Barrafina's) heavy-handedness with garlic. (Protip: Bring a pack of gum to share afterwards with your dining companions.)
We finished with:
+ Dates Poached in Coffee and Cardamom - As a sucker for anything with cardamom (I'm part Finnish, what can I say?), this dish immediately called out to me on the dessert menu. Unsure of what to expect presentation-wise, we actually received a pretty conventional looking plate of three juicy dates over a mild whipped cream, surrounded by a moat of coffee-cardamom syrup. While the syrup was a touch too sweet, I adored this dish. It was a refreshing alternative to the rest of the rich, custard-based desserts on the menu. (Full disclosure: I am not a fan of most desserts except for my mother's, and particularly not of Spanish or Portuguese desserts.)
By 11:30, only a handful of diners, lubricated by wine and sherry, were left lingering over desserts. Despite arriving at the end of the night, we never felt rushed. My only minor gripes about the otherwise enjoyable experience: when we asked the waitress for a description of the Bobal and Carignan wines (two grapes we had never heard of before), she just proclaimed that the Carignan was better without offering any description (the wine was good though); the decor leaves a lot to be desired; our water glasses were never refilled.
While Fino resembles the basement dining room of a mid-priced hotel chain, the food clearly comes from the kitchen of talented chefs using quality ingredients to prepare well-executed Spanish classics, and that is reason enough to come here.
(Visited November 2013)
Fantastic food.... but pretty expensive fantastic food -£ 164 for 2 ppl (OK maybe we ate for 4).
My boyfriend and I loved all of the dishes - we ordered 11 dishes to share between the 2 of us. OK maybe that's why it was a bit more expensive than usual, but we have no regrets.
1. Spanish ham - OK how can it be bad?! (bypass rating as it's hard to be bad)
2. Diver Scallops x2 - Really good , perfectly cooked..
3. Langostino - Grilled... hm... if I have to pick one dish to not order again, it's probably this one. Not bad at all, but I've had better.
4. Arroz Negro - Oh Yum yum. A bisque based risotto + cooked to perfection squid + squid ink... served in copperware. Beautiful presentation!
5. lamb chops - really good herb crust, and it's supposed to be milk fed lamb. Not bad.
6. Grilled Quail - OMG!!! THE AMAZING DISH OF THE NIGHT!!!! perfectly seared, juicy tender... unforgetable~!
7. Crispy Artichoke - 2nd most amazing dish. crispy baby artichoke... never seen anything like this before!
8. purple sprout brocolli - great garlic oil on top, it's very delicious.
9. ice cream + Donut - fresh made donut, bomb!
10. Coffee date - OH, while a tad too sweet, I'll have to say the memory of that dish stayed with me for the next few days... highly recommend!
+ 2 carafe of wine
I'll be back!
While in London, we wanted to go to some highly rated restaurants...Fino was mentioned on several where to eat lists and even better, it's tapas!
After sightseeing the whole day, only two of us gals made it to this reservation, which served to be just fine...r
Our waitress at first seemed a little put off by my friend because she could not decide on a bottle of red...but as we got to tasting 1, 2, then a 3rd bottle, I believe our high maintenance southern charm got to her and she became our friend...
Our waitress along with other staff helped us with our menu choices and we had the following:
pimientos de pardon (peppers in spicy oil sauce)
chorizo & alioli (pancake like with meat inside)
fennel, radish and pomegranate salad
iEverything was amazing, from the wine to the food to the desserts and it showed because our 6:30 reservation turned into a 4 hour spanish feast!
Have been here twice. The food is traditional Spanish food. Recommend for pork belly which was amazing. The service was not bad. Will go for next time. !
Had a fantastic meal here tonight. The dishes were all well executed, incredibly succulent, delicious. We worked through two bottles of wine; one was good, the other outstanding (can't remember the names - sorry). It's not a cheap meal but it also wouldn't break the bank. Four people, appx. six starter plates, six+ main plates, three desserts and two bottles of wine for appx. £150, which I don't think is outrageous for a special Friday night meal out. Well worth a visit.
How could it be short of excellent food being that this is the same owners as Barrafina. Food was fabulous--unbelievable bread, love the lamb chops, great cured meats, and the foie gras with sweet chili was TO DIE FOR.
So why 4. I have to agree with Annie H. that the atmosphere was a little boring. There is a bar with cocktail tables upstairs where I was escorted waiting for our table and it was very generic and old looking. It just feels a bit generic.
The service was just okay too.
For the food, I'd much rather be at Barrrafina.
It is consistently the best tapas place that I've been to in London or New York City. After about ten meals here over the past three years, I still crave it every time I am in town. Brought to you by the crew that is behind Barrafina and Quo Vadis, it should be no surprise that it's good.
The problem here is that you don't know where to start or when to start. The meats are amazing, the melt-in-your-mouth pork belly being my favorite. The croquetas rival anything you'd find in Spain. I dream of sopping up the sauce from the clams, sherry and ham. The tortillas are just perfect.
My number one tip: You must book. I have probably tried to get into this restaurant 5 times on random nights of the week without a booking and have failed every time.
My friends chose this restaurant to celebrate her birthday. Since this is a sister restaurant to Barrafina and I'd highly recommend it, I was expecting the quality in food & services to be the same.
As there were 12 of us, we only have 2 hours turn around before we have to give the table in for the next diner. A little bit disappointed but understand that most restaurants have these rules these days.
The customer services' excellent, no doubt. However it takes them a very (VERY) long time to bring the drinks to us from the moment we order.
As there were 12 of us, we were tied down to the set menu. Not too bad but some of the dishes were bland. I was expecting the dishes to be filled with aroma, spieces and flavour which melts in your mouth. Unfortunately I didn't experience the same as I did at Barrafina. A little bit disappointed again.
Another thing to point out is if you want to bring your own birthday cake, it would costs £5 pp or you could purchase their birthday cake for £60. More disappointment! We finished the celebration without a cake. My poor friend!
I do have to say we all ended up paying around £60 pp and we all only had 1 alcoholic drink each. A bit too pricey for not so flavoured food. I do have to say none of us were complaining about being hungry when we stepped out of the restaurant.
I don't think I would go back again. But for those who want to try good Tapas, maybe give Barrafina a try... but if you're not keen on queuing up, then maybe Fino.
I visited Fino for the first time in a couple of years last Saturday night. I phoned on Friday and booked a couple of seats at the "eating bar" - the main room was fully booked but no worries as sitting at the bar overlooking the kitchen is my favourite spot. Be warned that the main restaurant is a little lacking in "vibe".
The staff are professional , knowledgable and friendly - if you need a bit of advice they are very helpful. They have a good selection of sherry and you can try something quite special without breaking the bank - so it was a glass of fino for B and an olorroso for me (be warned that this kind of thinking can saddle you with a hefty bill at the end of the evening - it all mounts up).
The food is always good and sometimes very special. When ordering, even though this looks and feels like a standard restaurant in the centre of London, think tapas and order a few bits and pieces, drink some wine and then order some more.
We had some delicious chipirones which were a match made in heaven with a glass of sherry. The octopus wings were also very good and the fennel salad was spot on. The quail was tasty but I had a touch of food envy for the suckling pig.
The wine list is pretty good and there is a fair bit of choice for under £30. We had a bottle of the Catalan Eagle which was drinking very well and seemed like decent value for a small scale organic product.
We had a lovely evening and a very fine supper. Fino is a great place if you are sitting with your partner at the bar or you are being wined and dined in a booth.
Sadly this place is a bit dated. I can't quite pin point what is wrong with the design besides the birch wood paneling (everywhere) and the scattered palm trees (in the basement restaurant without windows), but it doesn't feel fresh. Besides that, this is a great Spanish restaurant and the service was impeccable. The servers were well organized, each with their own specialty, and the food arrived in a good pace and well presented.
The asparagus with pecorino and balsamic was delish, as were most more simple dishes as they have paid attention to the basics. The scallops with lime and olive oil were perfect, but the fried foods were too fried, in my opinion, and too heavy.
Great wine selection too.
I completely agree with razia and Bell as this is one of the best Spanish restaurants I have ever been in. Comfortable, well-spaced tables and good lighting enhance the exceptional food and wine. We had practically the whole tapas menu between six and it was absolutely delicious, washed down with a fantastic Urbina Riserva 1997 (£39) and some tasty Manzanilla La Pasada (£29) to start off with
The full menu included:-
Pan Con Tomate
Pimentos de Padron
Jamon Joselito (£18.50)
Cold Meat Platter (£12.50)
Wild Sea bass (£16.50)
Squid plancha (£11.50)
Chorizo and tomato
Take a band of friends and a full wallet (this meal's about £60 a head) and have a brilliant time!
PS the entrance is in Rathbone St, not Goodge St, and at night one can park outside as it's a single yellow line
Dinner here last night with parents. I'd been once before a couple of years ago with clients.
I wasn't sure how it was going to go down, as its quite young and modern inside, and my dad has previously had problems with young restaurants - Gaucho, for example, was too dark, Hawksmoor was too noisy - but Finos luckily seemed to pass this test.
We had cocktails in the bar area to start, we chose from the Fino list as these seemed to be more Spanish, rather than the classic list. These were nice, but as noted by some other reviewers they do seem to take ages to come.
For food, we started with one each of the ham croqueta, prawn croqueta and red pepper croqueta. These normally come in threes but they were happy to do them in dishes of five so that we got one each. These were amazing. We also had tuna tartar with guacamole, which again was amazing. My dad doesn't do fish so we also ordered a meat platter and some bread.
For the main course my dad had pre-ordered half a suckling pig. With this we had a chorizo tortilla, the Finos chips, mashed potatoes and cabbage with pancetta. I never really used to like pork until a few years ago, probably because I remember it from school and over-cooked roasts as a kid. But since trying pork the way Chinese and Spanish people do it, it can now be one of my favourites. The tortilla was excellent, so were the chips (particularly the sauce) but I was mostly concentrating on the pig, which properly fell of the bone and melted in the mouth.
We had dessert, sherry and coffee afterwards but I was mainly still remembering the pork. I think my parents are planning to come back here independently
We were here on Friday night and without a reservation, we we lucky that two seats were free at the bar. Of course a very nice wine selection and the staff seemed friendly under pressure from a busy kitchen that is an open view to bar patrons. We started with salchichen iberico (hard salami) which was quite nice and followed that with pan con tomate which was very good. The lamb was tender and cooked perfectly but I can't remember if we had the mixed greens or the spring greens. Whichever it was included pomegranate seeds - out of this world. So, so good. The fino chips brought this down to four stars because they were just too salty. The seasoning was great and the homemade sauce (not ketchup because I despise that stuff) was a surprise. Very tasty. Once or twice it became crazy behind the bar so it was difficult to get anyone's attention, but overall we enjoyed just about all of it.
Very good food and service but a bit pricey. Wine was extremely tasty (and not so expensive). I am going back next week for a work team dinner I am organising.
I can see why Fino is popular - trendy Fitzrovia location, lavish décor, self-assured attitude, fantastic wine list, exuberant menu, pretty dishes, stylish presentation - but the truth be told, this restaurant fundamentally misinterprents the real thing.
Some of the tapas are arguably close to the quality of, say, Cal Pep in Barcelona, but the approach here is too precious. The essence of tapas is informality. If you want to make tapas formal, you only have one route - elevate them to fine dining. Very few restaurants can pull this off. Otherwise, don't skirt around the edges of formality, it doesn't work.
The food is often accomplished (the arroz negro was surprisingly good, almost authentic) but equally often a failure (the veal sweetbreads were far too rubbery and not as fluffy as they should be). The wine list is tremendous and full of true gems, and the sherry list is properly serious.
Fino is recommendable, and a welcome addition to the ever-improving London Spanish restaurant scene, but purists will be disappointed.
On a personal level, I also struggle with being in a windowless undground space, but they have in fact dealt with this challenge with panache.
My old friend Mr Armstrong had secured a fine table at Fino on a Friday night and that seemed like great way to kick the weekend off, soften the blow of a badly-judged wager and spend some time with his lovely girlfriend the positively blooming Sarah.
The champagne cocktail in the bar was a beautiful mix and hit the spot, accompanied by Fino's divine olives- some of the tastiest I've had, although the 20 minute wait for drinks would have been a nightmare if you were in desperate need of a cold refreshment of any sort. I have been here a few times and the lack of staff on the bar to deal with the aperitif-buying punters has always been a feature.
However, we were here for the food and we had one of the lovely banquettes by the bar - plenty of room for four and you can get all the plates on the table without a balancing act. If you are booking I would recommend asking for one of these tables as opposed to the more crowded "main" floor - you get a touch of privacy while having a good view of action for those brief moments when you feel the need to check the progress of the next plate; also good as it's by the run to the pass so you can catch the eye of your waitress if your guests are claiming dehydration!!
B sensibly cut through the chatter over the menu and suggested we chunk it up. Our first run at it included bread, croquettes , the best chicken wings you've ever tasted, perfect clams, and a lovely chorizo & tomato salad washed down with the house white. The plates come pretty much as they are cooked and it's ideal if you want to drink, eat and chat - my advice would be to make it a leisurely evening and order in phases as the mood takes you. The waiting staff will impose a bit of sense on any erratic sequencing of dishes in your order to try and keep it at least vaguely Hispanic.
Another run at the menu and we were deep into luscious crispy pork belly, little rare-ish lamb cutlets to die for, tortilla, tomato salad and chips. A fine bottle of Gotim Bru was pretty reasonable and cut through all the rich flavours.
We had a lovely waitress who was attentive and knowledgable without being overbearing. Can't really comment much on the punters as I was too engrossed in the food, the conversation and a valiant but unsuccessful defence of Qyping on my part.
I think this is a really great restaurant, producing consistently excellent food. Fitzrovia is one of my favourite parts of central London - if you have a bit of money to spend on a special meal or a gambling debt to honour it doesn't get much better.
Be sure to book ahead!!
If I could I would give this six stars. We sat at the bar and everything about this place was top notch.
This restaurant is one of the nicest Spanish fusion restaurants in London. I especially enjoyed the tomato and chorizo salad - a real treat. Some of the portions are a little pathetic (particularly the tiny scallops), but perhaps my eyes are bigger than my belly because I was satisfied upon completion of said plates!
Good service from friendly people, and a comfortable, relaxed environment. Stick to the tapas menu to sample the different dishes, I think this would be far more satisfying than going for a main meal.
Top Tip: Book through Toptable for a special offer and really feel like you get your money's worth. Why pay full price when you don't have to?!
Fantastic mashed potato - very creamy, but not too rich.
Lovely venue, though service a little slow at times.
Fino doesn't disappoint but it can be a little uneven. Tapas are univerally good and some are outstanding - rhe braised pigs cheeks springs to mind - but what you get on any given day does seem to vary, though we're supposed to think that's a good thing now.
Seating is also a little variable - the ones by the door are Siberia while the booths at the back are coccooned heaven, but if you can cope with a little uncertainty as to the trimmings then an evening at Fino will always be memorable.
A decent restaurant but expensive and much worse than that, all the food is EXTREMELY salty. There is far too much salt in everything to the point that after the third dish or so, you just can't eat any more because of the sheer quantity of salt you've eaten. It's a shame because it's potentially very good, but for the love of God cut about 90% of the salt out, you're ruining it.
The food was fantastic. The decor was mediocre. The service was excellent.
Very good quality tapas, excellent service and very fresh food. Superb calamari, seasoning's that are not overpowering with distinctive flavors.
Staff is attentive without being annoying. We really enjoyed the food overall. Reservations recommended.
The best Spanish restaurant outside of Spain. A dream of a place, Fino is actually located right off Charlotte behind Roka. You descend a set of stairs to a foodie's heaven. The kitchen is located directly behind the bar and all the action is in sight. I always start with pan con tomate and ham croquetas. Then move to tuna tartar and grilled squid. finally I have the tortilla. Save room for dessert if you want to sample the best flan EVER. If I could afford this place more often, I would be there weekly. It's addictive.
When you feel like spoiling somebody special, Fino is an exceptional experience. A tappas bar where the food is prepared to melt-in-the-mouth perfection, served in tiny portions, and washed down with an excellent selection of wines. This is a basement restaurant, with an entrance hidden down a side street off Goodge Street. Find it and enchant someone! The menu is pricey, but share a selection of dishes to make it worth while
Was treated to a meal at Fino not so long ago. Fantastic food and great service. Give the chocolate shot a whirl for desert!
I 'kind of' recommend nearby Fino for tapas. I say 'kind of' because I think the subterranean dining room is over-lit and the bar looks like it belongs in a nondescript business hotel. Most of this can be forgiven by its superior tapas of which my favourites include; grilled octopus, Spanish cold meat platter, and tuna tatar. I'm still a little undecided about this place and it's also bloody expensive.
I really like Fino Restaurant & Bar. My favourites dishes are crab coqueta, chorizo and tomato and wild sea bass. The total bill usually come up to about £50 per person including drinks which is pretty reasonable. The setting is quite cosy and relaxing. Nothing too formal at all and it is really good for groups of friends getting together too. Try to book in advance especially if you are going in a big group as it can get really crowded during dinner times especially on a Friday and Saturday. I will surely recommend this to everyone who loves tapas.
I am very ambivalent about this restaurant. My boyfriend and I love tapas, and I heard good things about it so I booked it for us.
But it was a tapas restaurant for Londoners, rather than for people who actually enjoy food. To me, tapas are things to be enjoyed slowly over lots of red wine, with lots of chat and fun sharing food and getting your fingers dirty. But this was the exact opposite! The whole atmosphere was incredibly stuffy--it was definitely a restaurant as opposed to a restaurant-cum-bar, which suits tapas much better. And the prices are unjustifyably expensive! £20+ for some of the plates of tapas. I can't say the food wasn't nice, but if this is your idea of a good tapas restaurant, you've probably never been to Spain.
A light and airy basement cocktail bar and restuarant located just off Tottenham Court Road and Charlotte Street. Ideal for first dates and intimate dinners.
Fino is no ordinary shovel it in and off tapas, but a sophisticated spanish joint which is first class right from the front door. Traditionally we start with a glass of Manzanilla and Padron peppers always in anticipation of that fiery friend striking out to bite when least expected. I always dine with my partner, always requesting the same table. This will remain a secret for now as I don't want everyone jumping on the spanish band-wagon, as it were. The room is littered with wooden tables and pristine white walls laced with unusual artistry. The restaurant and the bars are always crowded, with a friendly, jovial atmosphere. The waiters and managers alike, mainly Spanish, are attentive to your every need. You show the enthusiasm and they will offer you a warm, friendly service. If you've not tried this restaurant yet and you're a fan of the finest Tapas, or simply fans of the owners Sam and Eddie Hart give this place a go. Wonderful ingredients cooked simply, with absolute precision. On our last visit we started with the wind dried beef, bread and some very young grassy spanish olive oil, leaving our tastebuds wanting more. Then followed ham croquetas, scrumptious scallop cerviche, grilled quail, squid with pancetta in an umptuous ink sauce and a refreshing beetroot and picos cheese salad. An exquisite bottle of Gran Riserva Rioja 904 on the side with a sensational Santiago tart for the finale. Exceedingly expensive, but worth every penny. So come, let yourself be overwhelmed by these sexy, succulent, Spanish savories.
What a marvelous evening we spent at Fino. At first we were surprised to find that the dining room was located in a basement. But the light colours of the interior and the vibrant atmosphere made us forget completely where we were. The wonderful Spanish waitress, Vanessa, is certainly one of the main reasons why this dinner was so perfect. She was helpful, convivial and cheerful as Spaniards can be. The food, of course, is the principle reason to come here. The choice of tapas is impressive and if you've already been to Spain, you'll recognize all the usual hits like Patatas Bravas, bocerones, pimientos, jamon iberico, chorizo, pulpo gallego and so on. We started with Pan con tomate, croquetas with crab and ham and Lomo Iberico. The ingredients were first rate. We started with a glass of red Rioja Dinastia Vivanco which was fruity and spicy with an elegant finish. We went on with a glass of Galician white Rias baixas O Rosal rich with peach and citrus fruits. I know, white is supposed to be drunk before red wine but with the black paella with squid and the octopus with capers and the artichokes, we were craving for white wine. Our mood was so light, Vanessa was so helpful and charming that we didn't notice it was already eleven and time to go clubbing. But first we had a rendezvous with an English girl, a good friend of my polish friend Piotr, at the bar upstairs in the restaurant.
Recommended by Gordon Ramsey. Tapas restaurant
For full review & photos:http://www.pigpigscorner.com/2010/10/fino-order-arroz-negro.html Our party of five was seated at a corner deep in the bowels of the basement dining room. The entire room was brightly lit and there was lively buzzing atmosphere of happy diners. Our request of tap water was eagerly obliged and a little plate of juicy green olives were happily devoured. Rather than wine, we decided to go with some sangria. Our menu had today's date on it, so presumably the contents change depending on what produce is available and sourced. Spanish cold meat platter. I wasn't paying too attention so I'm not sure if our waitress explained the cuts on the board. I think it was chorizo, jamon and salami none of which were particularly impressive. The jamon seemed particularly tough as well so it might have actually been lomo. Pan con tomate. To go with the ham, we ordered some of this typical Catalan bread of which every restaurant seems to do it slightly differently. Here, the rough and tough bread had a rather more delicate sweet tomato topping. "Chorizo and Potato Chips". I was expecting chorizo fried with potato wedges but they turned out to be chorizo sausages wrapped in thinly sliced potato and then fried. It was so good we ordered another plate. Classic tortilla. While the tortilla was delicious to eat with a mixture of softer potato body and less-cooked harder cubes inside as well providing contrasting textures, it is still just a little disappointing as Barrafina's version comes with egg yolk oozing out from the center. Queen scallops. Named "Queen" but the size took us all by surprise; we were expecting something larger, luckily we had ordered one each as splitting them to share would be tricky. Nevertheless the scallops were sweet and cooked really nicely as it was still very nearly raw and retained the nice bouncy texture. Did find it a bit too salty though. Seafood platter. Meant for two to share, this £33 plate represented pretty good value as it had half a crab, a (pretty big) langoustine split down the middle and two scallops. Simply put, all the seafood seemed really fresh and sweet although the langoustine claw did have rather shrunken meat within so the poor crustacean was probably starved in a tank for a while. I spent quite a while tangling with the crab body to get at all the juicy sweet meat within and much appreciated the lemon water provided to clean my hands later. The waitress also happily changed our dirty napkins. We found it a bit odd as the gills of the crab weren't removed, but that was easily done ourselves. The biggest joy of the dish was pulling back the shell to find it filled with sweet briny runny crab roe. Eating that roe with bread turned out to be a really magnificent combination and we also happily mopped up the remaining of the sauce on the plate with our bread. Arroz negro. As the PigPig was walking in, a random exiting diner shouted out to her to order this dish. She didn't really need to as the PigPig loves this squid ink rice dish anyway. The version here was rather brilliant with lots of the rather indescribable squid ink taste and al dente rice while the squid was tender. Only problem is the rather dainty portion size. Crisp pork belly. The Chinese love to eat pork but sometimes it feels that the Spanish are a close second behind. This version here is certainly a superb job as the skin has remained on the meat and is definitely crackling while the meat still remains tender and not overcooked. Rump of beef, baby onions and port sauce. Unlike all the other dishes, this is a surprisingly large portion. The beef was slightly overcooked for me but still remained tender and juicy while the sweet/sour port sauce was a great foil to the meat. Lamb cutlets, parsnip puree. Normally there will be two pieces per dish but we had requested to have five, one for each of us. A good thing too as our family ties would have been stretched a little if we had to share the juicy morsels here. Tender, moist, succulent, the cutlets also had some fat left on them for extra taste. I found the cutlets pretty well seasoned as they were and the olive topping unnecessary and too salty as well. Moving on to the desserts, we more also moved to a new location in the bar as we had overstayed our 2 hour table allocation. Whilst the seats were fairly comfortable, the tiny table was at a low height and made eating our desserts slightly tricky. Shot of white and dark chocolate. We ordered two of these as we had guessed they would be quite small as they were half the price of the other desserts. Although they look stunning, I wasn't convinced by the overall effect. Both layers were like a frothy liquid chocolate and presumably meant to be drunk with the straw. Perhaps using more solid mousses would have worked better. Chocolate mousse, ganache and chocolate crumble. We also doubled up on this option as my uncle wanted one all to himself as he was spying a neighbour's table and thought it
One of the best Spanish restaurants in London. 'You pays your money and you gets your quality' - except the Tortilla which was an utter disappointment. The only negative for me. The wine list is really interesting and can change radically - they have a great wine buyer. Overall sort the Tortilla (which, come on is an easy dish) and 5 stars will light!
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