Jamon and frozen beer

sagres

Our second attempt at a London tapas crawl was less succesful than the first, which you can read about here.

Our first port of call was Fernandez and Wells in Soho which was crammed. Nor did it seem to offer any beer, and what point is there in eating tapas without a cold little lager?

We thought we’d never find our second destination but it was worth the schlep. Iberica is pretty posh but the cheery staff made no effort to force us into a sit down meal. We sat at the bar, drank Mahou (terrible in itself, but evocative of hot Andalucian afternoons) and enjoyed a perfectly engineered Spanish omelette, some pimientos de padron and croquetas. Not cheap, but worth every penny.

Next, we headed for somewhere much more down-to-earth — Bar Gansa in Camden. The several mile walk stretched the definition of a ‘crawl’ and the English weather had us trapped under a bridge for nearly an hour while it rained and hailed with awe-inspiring ferocity. When we arrived, we were no longer feeling very Andalucian at all. Fortunately, more chilly beers and some very cheap, very decent Spanish ham put us back in the mood. There was music, there were people, they were young and alive. Good moods restored, we set out to our final destination.

Bar Camino was very trendy a year or two back and when you walk through the door, one thing is clear: no expense has been spared on decor, fixtures and fittings and staff training. Again, we sat at the bar (bucking the trend, this time) and nibbled. Sagres is Portugese and pretty boring but, on a humid afternoon, the freezer-fresh handled krugs it came in worked wonders. Tacky, we know, but very, very refreshing.

6 thoughts on “Jamon and frozen beer”

  1. “what point is there in eating tapas without a cold little lager?”
    I really shouldn’t be saying this, particularly as I’m an enthusiastic beer with food person, but I quite like a chilled dry golden sherry with tapas.

  2. Maybe I’m just being a thick Northerner, but I can only see the point of tapas if they’re provided free of charge as at-the-bar nibbles. If you have to buy them you end up with more of each item than you actually want and an oddly unsatisfactory, unbalanced meal.

  3. Sorry to be contrary – and let’s not forget its all about personal taste – although Sherry or wine may be more traditional, for me beer’s the least intrusive on the myriad of flavors you get with tapas, and above all refreshing. And I do love Tapas – the variety of food you can have, over a long evening, is the point. Making tapas is fun too, if you get bored making one thing (like I do).
    Hoping to go to San Sebastian next year for our honeymoon – purely for the Tapas.

  4. Paul — nowt wrong with Sherry! I prefer it after I’ve eaten, though. Not much good for washing stuff down (unless you take it in larger volumes than me…?).

    Curmudgeon — I sort of know what you mean, but part of the problem is that the kinds of tapas restaurants (as opposed to bars) we get int he UK oblige you to order more than you want, all in one go. Sitting at the bar, you can get away with a nibble with each round.

    Best free tapas ever: Burger and chips, served with 125ml of lager in a bar in Granada. How can that business make any money?

    Leigh — we’re going to San Sebastian later this year (but not for a honeymoon…). Boak tells me I can look forward to some very exciting Pintxos.

  5. Stayed in Madrid with a friend for a few days some years ago. Each of the bars offered a complimetary plate of tapas with the first round of drinks, a smaller plate with the second round and none after that.

    By hopping from one bar to another after just one beer it was possible to have a good meal just for the price of a few drinks – something we did on many occasions.

  6. I don’t drink sherry in great quantities but I find sipping and nibbling tapas to be a great combination if a light meal.

Comments are closed.