I tend to over-order most of the time which is why I love tapas/sharing plates restaurants. It’s the best way to sample loads of stuff on the menu without fear of wasting too much food. Over the years, I found my favourite/reliable tapas places in London from the likes of Barrafina, the Salt Yard Group restaurants, and more recently, Social Wine & Tapas.
A few weeks ago, I finally managed to visit the much - albeit quietly - talked about Boqueria in Brixton. Oddly situated along Acre Lane (but close enough to Clapham North) the restaurant is a well-known secret among foodies with a quasi “cult-favourite” status due to its relatively silence on promotional marketing. They must’ve been doing well, though as they’ve recently opened another branch in Battersea.
We ordered a pitcher of cava sangria (£24) which went down nicely while we perused the menu. Sweet and refreshing, although the alcohol was a wee bit lost.
We went for traditional starters. First to arrive was a plate of pulpo a la gallega (£7.90). Thinly sliced octopus lay on a bed of potatoes and moderately dusted with paprika. This was a winner. The flavours were subtle, yet composed and the octopus was spot on tender.
The pimientos de Padron (£4.80) were deliciously fresh and heaps better than what we had at Bilbao Berria, although I much prefer those we had at Social Wine and Tapas for the fact that they were charred longer and had a smokier flavour.
From the specials menu, we ordered the tuna tataki with salmojero sauce (£9.40). Salmojero is an Andalucian variant of gazpacho made of tomatoes and bread. The tuna was seared perfectly and the sauce was light and creamy with a bit of a tang. The texture from the croutons made from chopped lamb fat was amazing and the overall this dish was a highlight for me.
The arroz negro (£9.80) was delicious. I was a bit baffled at first as to why it didn’t have much garnish (two measly mussels, one prawn, and a massive dollop of aioli) but when I had a forkful of the rice, OH GOOD LORD. It was so good it didn’t need garnish at all. Cooked and seasoned perfectly, you HAVE TO order this when you go (but tell your server straight away as they’d need around half an hour to prep this).
Slightly underwhelming was the lubina con risotto de trigo (£7.90). The seabass fillet was cooked nicely, but the risotto with parmesan and scallops cream let it down a bit. It was quite underseasoned and I couldn’t taste the seafood in it.
We also ordered the *get ready for this* pincho de solomillo de ternera con foie gras y PX (£7.90) *whew* That’s a thin slice of beef tenderloin topped with foie gras and a Pedro Ximenez-based sauce on top of toast. The beef was ever so slightly over but the foie added a creamy richness I liked. This had potential, but not entirely our favourite.
I decided to order some boquerones (£4.70) as I was craving for something slightly acidic. The humble anchovy dish was good and the vinaigrette was sharp the way I like it. In fact, I doused my seabass and risotto with it to lift the flavour. Delicious.
We were quite full at this point, but I had to try the tarta de Santiago (£4.60). I much prefer this over the one we had at Morada Brindisa Asador. It was a bit more moist and the almond flavour came through better.
Digestifs were much needed after. Dos espressos, por favor!
Overall, Boqueria is a gem of the South and I can’t believe it’s taken so long for me to visit. The food is very decent and the service is as warm as the Spanish sun. It’s worth the trek down South!
192 Acre Ln, Brixton, London SW2
Ave spend pp: £40
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Looks/sounds wonderful - I'm a big tapas fan so must make a trip here.
…and I should really sign up for your pop-ups! x
Ok, so all your photos make the food look divine - I feel Boqueria need to thank you for that! Seems like excellent value and am loving the sound of the tuna tataki, arroz negro and THAT PUDDING!!! Lots of love, Andrea xxx
Awwwww, Andrea you are way TOO kind! It helped that they have a sun roof so all the natural lighting came through, haha. The tuna tataki was ace, I hope they keep it in the menu! x
Now you're just not supporting my diet at all 😉
Lots of love,
Let's start again tomorrow. Or after the bank holiday weekend! Lol.
(But you don't need it, really!) x
Ooh those boquerones look amazing! Have a great BH weekend
Suze | LuxuryColumnist
They were lovely, Suze! Enjoy yours, I'm sure you're off to have a fab one! x
This place looks fantastic - why can't Kensal Rise have more of these types of joints? I feel like you Brixtonites are so spoiled for choice where it comes to food 😉 Jk, I'll have to come down south and beg you to hit this place up with me again. That octopus is just too good looking to pass up! xx
Tamsin / A Certain Adventure
Come down south, Tamsin! We'll defo hit the tapas in Brixton! x
I've been to Boqueria as well, and I was mightily impressed with it! Wish I had tried out more dishes though.
Saskia / girlinbrogues.com
Do come back! They have heaps of seasonal specials too =)