Friday, 2 December 2011

Brindisa, London Bridge

I have spent more than one evening at Brindisa by London Bridge in my day. Even when I haven’t dined in the restaurant, I have availed of the grilled smoked chorizo at Borough Market on a Saturday. It’s important to get there before or after the mass of tourists to enjoy the chorizo in a bun drizzled with olive oil, and dressed with rocket and piquillo pepper. It’s on the menu at the restaurant also and is a must.
I have arrived at Brindisa at times in a state of inebriation; at other times I have left Brindisa intoxicated. But I have yet to leave without enjoying my evening both in terms of food and company. Brindisa does not take bookings and usually there is a wait. This in part explains some of the alcohol induced frivolity that occurs when dining there. Quite often there is a one hour wait and this then involves popping over to the Southwark Tavern or down to the Market Porter for a beverage (or two) before heading back for some carbohydrates to soak up the five a day from one of the aforementioned taverns.
The tapas at Brindisa are quite big, more a ration than tapas. Having already ordered the grilled smoked chorizo, we continue our order with a tortilla de chorizo. This as you might expect is a potato, chorizo and pepper omelette. It is tasty but cold. Perhaps they forget to heat it, but it usually arrives warm to the table.
Next up is the pan de coca, a traditional catalan flatbread with tomato. It’s the first time I’ve had it and it’s quite enjoyable. The tomato is spread on the toasted flatbread, drizzled with oil and garnished. 
I avoid the patatas brava o alioli as they are usually a letdown, less patatas bravas, and more cubed, fried potatoes lacking in taste. They’re nothing special at Brindisa. I don’t know why as the majority of the food is very good. It’s really the only non-galactico on a menu of greats which unlike Real Madrid usually live up to the expectations of them. We next try the gambas al ajillo. The chilli and garlic taste is prevalent and the quality of the gambas is high. Indeed whoever sources the ingredients at Brindisa deserves a pat on the back.
The croquetas de jamon are made from cured Iberian ham and are very good. I tend to feel like Goldilocks in my pursuit of good croquetas. They can be either too creamy or the potatoes too floury. Brindisa croquetas strike the right balance.
Although we don’t order it on this occasion, the charcuteria selection at Brindisa is excellent and the restaurant is renowned for it as is the Brindisa shop also to be found at Borough Market.
We wash the food down with the help of a 2010 bottle of Juan Gil, Monastrell, Jumilla. For three, the bill totals £65.   
One of the best things about Brindisa is that despite the enduring popularity of the restaurant, standards remain high. Possibly the people there are aware that the same pat on the back is only 6 inches from a kick in the arse and strive to maintain decent quality. The presentation of the food is simple in its elegance and the punters respond with their returned custom. There’s plenty of hustle, and throw in a dollop of bustle – and that’s just the staff. It’s great, plenty of personality as you’d expect from a Spanish restaurant. It’s in the heart of London, and at this stage, we’re spoilt for choice with the quality of Spanish restaurants in this town.
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