When the cold wind comes
I go where the dahlias bloom
Many years ago – this was when Borough Market was yer actual market and not just a place for tourists to gawp – I ordered a whole Joselito Gran Reserva Jamon from Brindisa as a Christmas present for my Dad. A few days before the big event a nice lady called Monika rang up and told me sorry, but they’d had to give my ham to Harvey Nicks. I was pretty distraught. A day before I was due to drive up North a courier van arrived from Brindisa bearing the ham and Christmas was saved. My father was thrilled and I got weekly packets of the best ham money can buy for the whole of January.
Fast forward about ten years and I’m sitting in front of a plate of perfectly cut Jamón Ibérico de Bellota from Joselito in Guijuelo which costs £20 plus service. A hell of a lot more expensive than it was all those years ago. It’s still great stuff though and if you’re going to splash out then there is no better place to do it than at Tierra Brindisa in London’s West End.
There’s more too: fat olives stuffed with orange and majoram, a huge diver caught scallop served complete with roe and topped by crisp Serrano ham and Chorizo de Leon with Piquillo Peppers that delivered a massive hot pimenton hit.
Monte Enebro Cheese with Orange Blossom honey: a classic from the Borough branch was present and correct. Battered Hake suffered from a slightly spongy covering but the accompanying aioli was the business.
The croquetas here are made with Ibérico ham. I may not be able to call them the best croquetas in London, but that's only because I haven't eaten in every Tapas bar in the capital. They were so good I considered saving some for HS for about, oh. at least half a second.
Tapas Brindisa in Borough has been a big success for the few years it’s been open so it seems natural to roll out the concept and join the other playas in the area: Salt Yard and Dehesa, Fino and Barrafina, Fernandez & Wells. This can sometimes mean a drop in standards but on my visit everything save a glass of manzanilla that wasn’t sufficiently chilled (my life is full of such miseries) was tiptop. This may have been owing to the fact that chef José Pizarro was watching over proceedings but I like to think that the staff can maintain these standards when he leaves to open the next branch.