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|Address:||23 Catherine Street, London WC2B 5JS|
|Tel:||020 7836 3680|
|Price: £50.00||Wine: £16.00||Champagne: £76.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sun 12N-11pm (Sun -3pm)|
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Arriving late on a Friday evening, getting a quiet table for two in Theatreland was always going to be tricky. Opera Tavern offered us the bar, but stools and blearing music sent us upstairs to the restaurant. And the two tables of a dozen people each who, judging by the empty plates and numerous bottles adorning each table, had been there for a wee while.
Stuck between a rock and a loud place, we settled on animated conversation over the music. After all, tapas is about sharing. What better way to share every dish on the menu than to get a big crowd together. Although the tables are pretty close together, other than the two big tables, upstairs was pretty empty, so we got two table together, so that we could both sit on the banquette, facing out at the revelry, and allowing us to converse better.
Irony is writ loud and large at OT: from the pig’s trotter door handles, through the Jamon leg beer pump to scotch eggs and pork scratchings on the menu. The latter masquerades as crispy pigs ears but, by any other name, is as fine a deep fried, salty pork skin as you will find. The scotch eggs too were fine, although one was extremely salty and the other not. In both cases, the egg was just cooked with the yolk still runny and the Ibérico pork a tad better than your usual head cheese affair. What made them Italian, I am unsure.
In fact, the odd croquette and crispy squid aside, the tapas are pretty different from the run of the mill Spanish joint; even the croquette was a mushroom, rather than the more common ham, variety. Mini burgers (or large sliders maybe) came with that excellent Ibérico pork again, topped out with foie gras. To complete the porcine theme, we had the grilled Ibérico pressa – shoulder of the self same pig, with capers and lemon.
The wine list is good, solidly Iberian, with a few Italians thrown in, and is split by style. We had a medium bodied Verdjo from Rueda, and very fine it was too.
Service is friendly and unhurried, plates coming as done, as they should, and at no rush to get us through, even though it was late for the kitchen.
Amongst all the noise and bustle, I missed the fact that we had been charged for a bottle of wine that we didn’t have, so called back on Monday to mention this to the restaurant. Kate was extremely helpful, handling the matter swiftly and with charm; it is always pleasing to see professional restaurants act professionally. For this alone I would return. The fact is, however, that the pork scratchings have been calling to me all weekend; like Lord Darlington, I can resist anything but temptation.