I tend to over-order most of the time which is why I love tapas/sharing plates restaurants. It’s the best way to sample loads of stuff on the menu without fear of wasting too much food. Over the years, I found my favourite/reliable tapas places in London from the likes of Barrafina, the Salt Yard Group restaurants, and more recently, Social Wine & Tapas.
A few weeks ago, I finally managed to visit the much – albeit quietly – talked about Boqueria in Brixton. Oddly situated along Acre Lane (but close enough to Clapham North) the restaurant is a well-known secret among foodies with a quasi “cult-favourite” status due to its relatively silence on promotional marketing. They must’ve been doing well, though as they’ve recently opened another branch in Battersea.
We ordered a pitcher of cava sangria (£24) which went down nicely while we perused the menu. Sweet and refreshing, although the alcohol was a wee bit lost.
We went for traditional starters. First to arrive was a plate of pulpo a la gallega (£7.90). Thinly sliced octopus lay on a bed of potatoes and moderately dusted with paprika. This was a winner. The flavours were subtle, yet composed and the octopus was spot on tender.
The pimientos de Padron (£4.80) were deliciously fresh and heaps better than what we had at Bilbao Berria, although I much prefer those we had at Social Wine and Tapas for the fact that they were charred longer and had a smokier flavour.
From the specials menu, we ordered the tuna tataki with salmojero sauce (£9.40). Salmojero is an Andalucian variant of gazpacho made of tomatoes and bread. The tuna was seared perfectly and the sauce was light and creamy with a bit of a tang. The texture from the croutons made from chopped lamb fat was amazing and the overall this dish was a highlight for me.
The arroz negro (£9.80) was delicious. I was a bit baffled at first as to why it didn’t have much garnish (two measly mussels, one prawn, and a massive dollop of aioli) but when I had a forkful of the rice, OH GOOD LORD. It was so good it didn’t need garnish at all. Cooked and seasoned perfectly, you HAVE TO order this when you go (but tell your server straight away as they’d need around half an hour to prep this).
Slightly underwhelming was the lubina con risotto de trigo (£7.90). The seabass fillet was cooked nicely, but the risotto with parmesan and scallops cream let it down a bit. It was quite underseasoned and I couldn’t taste the seafood in it.
We also ordered the *get ready for this* pincho de solomillo de ternera con foie gras y PX (£7.90) *whew* That’s a thin slice of beef tenderloin topped with foie gras and a Pedro Ximenez-based sauce on top of toast. The beef was ever so slightly over but the foie added a creamy richness I liked. This had potential, but not entirely our favourite.
I decided to order some boquerones (£4.70) as I was craving for something slightly acidic. The humble anchovy dish was good and the vinaigrette was sharp the way I like it. In fact, I doused my seabass and risotto with it to lift the flavour. Delicious.
We were quite full at this point, but I had to try the tarta de Santiago (£4.60). I much prefer this over the one we had at Morada Brindisa Asador. It was a bit more moist and the almond flavour came through better.
Digestifs were much needed after. Dos espressos, por favor!
Overall, Boqueria is a gem of the South and I can’t believe it’s taken so long for me to visit. The food is very decent and the service is as warm as the Spanish sun. It’s worth the trek down South!
192 Acre Ln, Brixton, London SW2
Ave spend pp: £40