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|Address:||417 Strand, London WC2R 0PD|
|Tel:||020 7836 7764|
|Price: £48.00||Wine: £21.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sat 12N-11.30pm (Thurs-Sat -12M)|
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The 16 reviews on Tripadvsor for The Port House could be condensed simply into “stumbled across this surprising and delightful find”. Spot on. To flesh it out a bit, let's add here that you are in danger on this stretch of The Strand, when caught like a rabbit in the headlights of the question “Where can we get a quick bite to eat round here?”, of falling into the serviceable but not very imaginative rabbit hole of a Garfunkels or Pizza Express. If you manage to pull off an Alice and find this Irish Iberian Wonderland you will be as smug as the Cheshire Cat. Flickering candlelight and a bricky tunnel-like cavern draw you in to this Dickensian snuggery. Stop first at the long bar and try a gin-based concoction which comes in a giant globe of a glass to warm the cockles of even the most Ebeneezer of hearts (or should that be Queen of Hearts? My analogies got muddled somewhere at the bottom of that first cocktail). Wait to be called to your table and have a sherry whilst you peruse the lengthy tapas menu which covers all the traditional bases: patatas bravas, cured meats, cheeses, calamares etc. It's no Opera Tavern or Polpo when it comes to ambition or execution and by the end I feel I've probably drunk as much oil as I have albarino but it's as good as any La Rueda. Finish with a port and a smile. It's not bad value by the dish or by the drink but, as with all tapas, it all adds up and we left at least 50 notes lighter (but perhaps 50 pounds heavier). This is the perfect spot, on a cold, dark,evening to come for a quick drink and a couple of pinxtos with a friend or for a pre/post-theatre feed. It's not so great for foursomes (as you sit in U-formation on 3 sides of the table staring at the cosy couple across a narrow gap) or for those on a diet. To avoid any more stumbling around a la Alice/Tiny Tim, it's located by the Adelphi. Indulge in your own analogies as this place certainly invites them.