09 Jan Tapas in London
London. Many words have been said about this fantastic city and more will be said as years pass by.
An impressive subway rail, fabulous sights and monuments, hundreds of languages/dialects spoken, fantastic opportunities for startups or the bad weather all come in mind when people talk about London.
But not many people talk about food when discussing London. And I don’t mean British cuisine but just food. And that is a bit odd in a city that I think hosts a million restaurants with a million themes. French restaurants, Vietnamese restaurants, Italian, Indian, Chinese, Pakistani, Turkish, Iranian, etc. Just name it and probably a restaurant of that kind will be in London.
From the start I must confess that I’m not considering expensive/Michelin starred restaurants in my review because that is out of my scope.
What I always looked for is that special feeling when you sit in a small, local place and eat something from the “menu of the day” and get to sit together with plenty of locals and hear how they talk and tell stories.
Now in London this is kind of impossible because here the definition of small would still be larger than medium sized joints in Italy for example.
And it is also impossible due to how many expats and tourists are always in the city.
But what does that mean for food?
As long as I can remember (2008 to be exact when I first visited Barcelona) I had a love affair with tapas. Small snacks or appetizers famous in Spain. In a way similar to antipasti in Italy or mezze in Greece.
I just love the idea of picking 5,6 things and try a little bit from each, enjoying a glass of wine and talking to friends or reading about the places I visited or the places I plan to visit.
So when I was in London in July and had to pick a restaurant for the first evening to eat in I walked along Old Brompton Road and stopped at Cambio de Tercio.
Now this place is a well-known tapas restaurant with locations on both sides of the street almost facing each other.
Since it was evening most of the tables inside were full but I was in luck and managed to catch the last table outside, able to see the street and enjoy the pleasant weather along a glass of white wine.
London in good weather is an entirely different city so I was glad I could stay outside and watch the street, resting a bit after my flight.
Now, from my knowledge and from visiting Spain, tapas originated as little small bites of food meant as appetizers. They were not meant by any means to make you feel full.
When my post about a fantastic tapas place in Barcelona will appear I will reference this piece so you can compare for yourself the differences.
Quick note: I am not complaining here since I love bigger portions.
From the start I must confess that the menu states that a person can be satisfied with 2-3 tapas, a thing that is not likely to happen in Spain, where 2-3 tapas just awake your appetite.
Since I was with a friend we ordered about six to seven tapas, not knowing what to expect and relaxed while waiting for them.
Bellow you will find the main points I usually grade when eating at a new restaurant:
Staff. The staff is ok. Not much interaction, nothing fun like Greece or Italy but not total strangers. Overall a pass note.
Food. Now this is where it gets a bit complicated and I will try to explain this as best as I can. The food is good. Most of it. From the six-seven(if I remember right) tapas I tried that evening I really enjoyed three of them, one I disliked and I was ok with the rest.
The tapas are not a single piece of appetizer but rather small plates filled with a few pieces of that tapa. As you can see from my pictures the portions are generous and even I at 100+ kilograms could do well with only two, three tapas tops.
Now for the taste I must be honest and admit that this place holds ok tapas.
Unfortunately for me none of the things I tried stuck to my mind. As a comparison I still remember 2 pieces of tapas I tried in Barcelona, six to seven months earlier and that says a lot.
Don’t get me wrong, this place deserves a visit and while the food will fill you and satisfy you it is very likely that nothing will stick to your mind for a long period of time.
Prices. Since this is London I won’t press this matter much but for our six tapas and 2 glasses of wine we paid 80+ pounds. In my book that would qualify as expensive but as I said earlier this is London.
The atmosphere is mixed. Is not your usual pub thing, loud, noisy filled with people but it’s not a silent type of place either.
People coming after work, tourists, young couples, they all mix and give this place a nice vibe and Old Brompton road has a certain charm that makes you watch it while engaging in conversation.
As a final note I would like to point out that while this place does not deserve a special visit to eat there, if you’re close you could surely stop by and sample their tapas.