17 March 2016
The best Sangria ever is here. Right here in King's Cross, London Town. At Camino. Camino means 'road' or 'path' in Spanish and it's one I certainly want to take again. The Sangria was silky smooth with a caramel/vanilla (I couldn't decide which) aroma. Definitely the best tasting Sangria I've ever had. The secret, because I asked, is Liquor 43, a Spanish golden liquer infused with 43 herbs, spices and fruits. Along with red wine (obvs), Whitley Neill gin, orange juice, cinnamon, and lemonade. How many times need I attempt this at home before I get it right?!
But we didn't just come for the Sangria. That was an added delight. Gin and Tonics are also a specialty, served the Spanish way with lots of ice and perfectly-matched garnish. I had the Gin Mare, infused with botanicals including citrus, thyme, rosemary and basil. The Chase Seville Orange was tantaslising,with orange, juniper berries and elderflower.
The food though. Here at Camino, it is superb. Tapas dishes but without any faff or fancy stuff. Yet still elegant and more than edible. For six of us (including one vegetarian and one gluten-free) we ordered 14 dishes and it was just about enough. I could have kept eating, obviously, but it was just enough. Had to leave room for dessert (and more Sangria). The best dish by general consensus was the arroz negro, a black rice with cuttlefish and squid ink, dolloped with a creamy alioli. The special was recommended by our waiter with gusto, ribs with caramelised spring onions, and many other things besides, we got the last one. Glad we didn't miss that! The only dish that did not get hoovered up was the piquillo peppers with black quinoa. There we were, trying to be trendy and healthy at the same time - no, quinoa will never do it for me, and it ruined a perfectly nice piquillo pepper.
Dessert. Churros of course! Long doughnut sticks with a melted chocolate dip. Real Spain in your mouth. I only had a taster of the almond tart, apparently it was quite tart, but the creamy custard was sweet and light. Tocino de cielo, for my gluten-free friend, was literally, Heavenly Custard.
Tea was served with a multi-egg timer so you can gauge the strength you wish. We all want to buy one of these for our own homes now...
To add to the ambience of Spanish-ness, people sit at the bar, drinking glasses of vine Tinto and ordering tapas dishes seemingly as they feel like it. Large legs of Iberico jamon sit on the counter tops, being sliced as we watched. Latin and jazz plays in the background while all around us people relax and drink cerveza, cava and carafes of vino.
A cousin of the Bankside Camino and others, Camino was one of the first restaurants to help King's Cross become the foodie destination it now is, with Dishoom, Caravan, The Grain Store, Addis and many more now amongst the top restaurants in London. Right across the courtyard in Varnisher's Yard is Bar Pepito, London's first sherry bar also serving tapas, and managed by the same company. Imagine sunny afternoons drinking Sangria in the plaza... Be in Spain right here in London.