Harden's survey result
A “good choice of drinks” helps fuel the “buzzy” style of this “good value” Hispanic group. Some reporters feel its tapas offering is rather “standard”, but most reports are of “good tapas at good prices”.
A small group of “buzzy” tapas joints “full of culinary delights” – “and it’s possible to eat well without breaking the bank”. It caters to a business crowd during the week and families at weekends – “there’s always plenty of things on the menu that the kids love”. The Blackfriars, Notting Hill and Canary Wharf branches have closed, but a new spot in Shoreditch opened this year.
“Lovely”, “well-sourced” tapas is the straightforward appeal of this Spanish group, much favoured for business lunching. Staff manage to be both “attentive” and “unobtrusive”, but branches can get “noisy” at busy times.
“A good standby!” – these “fun” tapas stops (they can be “loud”) offer “well-prepared dishes” (“sometimes way above average”), and a “decent modestly priced list of wines”, beers and sherries.
It's never seems like the hottest idea when a new restaurant's menu looks conceptualised to within an inch of its life. Few restaurateurs have the energy to get every aspect of an opening right, and it just seems to show a warped sense of priorities. This new Spanish outfit near King's Cross puts its menus out to await your arrival, but in a credit-card size format such that you don't actually notice it. When you have finally found it, you open it out like one of those little maps you get given at a trade exhibition. All by yourself! What a blast.
Having finally got over the menu business, we moved on to the food, which, sadly, seems to have received less attention. That's not to say there was anything wrong with a plate of Iberico ham (and it's 'packed with vitamin B', apparently) or with peppers filled with crab in a seafood sauce. Main courses, though, lost their way badly. Dover sole deserved better than its clumpy accompaniment of black rice, and 'tender Romney Marsh lamb cutlets', albeit generously-portioned, were cooked to sub-could-do-this-at-home standards. What's the point of having 'an authentic charcoal grill from Spain', and then using it to impart none of the 'sheer flavour the charcoal gives the food'. (Especially when the menu asserts, quite correctly, that the said flavour 'cannot be beaten'.)
As our meal was drawing to a close, our eyes were drawn back to the witty little menu, and couldn't help noting that the establishment's web address is barcamino.com: perhaps it's a shame they didn't stop their concept while they were ahead. In fact, should find yourself passing through the station, this place would make a perfectly civilised watering hole for a quick glass of vino.
all day till Mon-Wed midnight, Thu-Sat 1 am
Last orders: 11 pm, Sun 10 pm