NUEVO TAPA IN OLD ST
Well, Featherstone St actually, but you see where I am coming from.
At last. At long last. For the last three months or so, DH have regularly been seen pressing our noses against the glass window of the site of Pinchitos waiting for the day it opened. We have even tried to chivvy them along by sticking our heads in every now and then and saying “ when the hell are you going to be ready?” We are like that. We love to help people out.
But, given the fact that co-owner, Jason seems to have done most of the work himself (with his old man) the fact that they only took that long is a pretty remarkable feat.
Another challenge came on opening day yesterday when they found out they had no gas which left the restaurant with a truncated menu and the punters with an assault course of road works to overcome before the two could meet.
It tells you something about the future success of this place that, despite all of these setbacks, the place was packed at lunchtime on its second day and, based on the food I tried today, it is going to be packed pretty much all the time.
With a handful of tables and plenty of counter seating, the room is an agreeable place for casual group dining or a solo snack. I was having lunch with my new chum, Andrew and we sat at the bar next to the appealing refrigerated display of montaditos and sipped on a chilled Fino.
Pinchitos has taken the best elements of mothership, PinXo People in Brighton with a good cocktail list and a menu of light nuevo tapa based on well sourced ingredients. Excellent ham with strips of acorny fat, sharp meaty boquerones came in the Madrileno style on top of potato crisps, small glasses of Gazpacho topepd with a slick of peppery olive oil, a decent portion of Pimientos Padron suitably charred and salty and a good selection of both cured Iberico meats and cheeses.
Given that they were very definitely not cooking on gas, It was a good effort from Miquel and his team.
Regular readers will know that I am no great fan of Barrafina/Fino school of restaurants and the bleating from critics about how Barrafina was “ just like the real Spain” made me want to hurl my tortillitas de camarones. No, it looks like Cal Pep and costs you the best part of £100 for two if you have the stomach to queue for an hour to sit at the counter.
Pinchitos is a lot more to my taste.
Casual, well priced (with tapa about £5) Cruzcampo on draught and Mahou in bottles, a decent wine list and what I am told was great coffee I can see it is going to be a regular haunt for Chocolate and Churros in the morning, a snack at lunch or a cocktail in the evening on the days when Tobias is up from Brighton.
It wont be for the faint hearted. The small space is going to get hellishly crowded with post work revellers from nearby offices. the music is loud and I suspect the large glass windows will heat up the crowd nicely.
But, these are small quibbles for a very welcome addition to the neighbourhood. Particularly my neighbourhood.
It is a soft opening and next Thursday will be their first evening session with the full menu. If you go in there on that night and see a bald man licking a plate clean of ham juices, it’s probably going to be me.
Welcome to the big city guys.