Battling the biting cold through the mean streets of Brixton (or ‘Clapham North’, depending on how gentrified you want to be) where cosy refuge is in short supply, my companion and I were thrilled to stumble into the outstretched arms of Boqueria which, we quickly realised, all Brixton’s prudent cognoscenti had also done, its tables being taken, each and every one. Billing itself as ‘London’s most exciting tapas bar’ seemingly acted as a clarion call to every South London gourmand, hipster and festive partygoer. Well, it was a Friday night.
Determined creatures that we were, we insisted that there must and shall be room at the inn, and gratefully drew up a pew at the bar, from whence we embarked upon our thrilling culinary trip around Spain, via a surfeit of tapas, the like of which would more than pass muster in their mother country. Having been on a voyage to Barcelona very recently, we could vouch for the authenticity of everything we ate and drank, as well as the brisk but friendly staff.
All were utterly superb, every bit the equal of anything we’d had in London before.
First up, a bowl of seductively fleshy olives were dispatched hastily, an exemplary exercise in appetite whetting for what was still to come. The menu danced in front of us, tantalising our tastebuds with coquettish glimpses of culinary leg. We pounced, and ordered a stirring opening salvo of chorizo in cider, croquettas, tomato bread and calamari. All were utterly superb, every bit the equal of anything we’d had in London before – and often at considerably greater prices. We asked for wine, and a very palatable Rioja was poured, which had a certain spicy kick to it. This made us very happy, in most respects.
The menu here oscillates between simplicity and more daring forays into high-class cuisine; a main course of sucking pig with lime sorbet is the sort of thing found in Michelin-starred establishments, but only costs £8.50. It’s not hard to imagine it costing double in the West End. If you’re feeling adventurous when it comes to the drinks, eschew another glass of wine in favour of the delicious ‘lemon beer’ that’s offered – considerably less strong than normal cervezas, it has a sweet-but-sour taste that perfectly complements the excellent food.
An evening here is a pleasure, although it’s not exactly a relaxing experience – though this is entirely true to its Spanish roots. So head on down to South London, have a glass of wine, pull up a stool and prepare for a very enjoyable night.
Boqueria, 192 Acre Lane, London, SW2 5UL, Tel: +44 20 7733 4408, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Boqueria may not be relaxing but it is utterly authentic
Alex Larman is thrilled to stumble into the outstretched arms of Boqueira, a tapas bar in the mean streets of Brixton (or ‘Clapham North’, depending on how gentrified you want to be.)
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Alex Larman woke up at the tender age of 23 and, Martin Luther King-like, announced to the world that he had a dream. He was simultaneously going to write the 21st century's answer to Ulysses, direct the film that the bastard child of Scorsese, Kubrick and George Formby might have made and become a global roue on a hitherto unknown scale. Then reality kicked in, and the dream collapsed, in favour of a parlous and occasionally sketchy existence maintained writing about food, drink, film and all the other essential requirements of a modern boulevardier's life.
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