Cigala 22

54 Lamb's Conduit Street , London, WC1N 3LW

  • Cigala, Bloomsbury Fitzrovia, London
  • Cigala, Bloomsbury Fitzrovia, London
  • Cigala, Bloomsbury Fitzrovia, London

SquareMeal Review of Cigala

While the bar for London tapas has been mightily raised in recent years, it’s done nothing to dent the popularity of old-time stalwart Cigala. Wines built for long lingering lunches are a big reason for its success, with bags of choice on the Spanish-led list and the sort of kindly mark-ups that are never likely to go out of fashion. Gleaming linen and cream walls lighten up the corner site, while Jake Hodges’ kitchen dishes up reliable renditions of grilled sardines in garlic, parsley and lemon, Basque-style baked crab, or squid blasted furiously on the plancha with mojo verde and guindilla peppers. Regional hams and olives, paellas for two and a compact selection of mains (perhaps hake with prawns and cockles in green sauce) complete the menu, although there’s no sign of the titular langoustine. Functional service gets the food delivered, but you’ll be glad of straight-talking wine notes.

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4.6

Food & Drink: 5.1

Service: 4.6

Atmosphere: 5.1

Value: 4.8

Food & Drink: 1.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 1.0

Value: 1.0

Esther L. 28 April 2013

On Friday I had the worst meal I have ever had at a restaurant at Cigala. I have been there several time before and always enjoyed it but will never go back. The waiter as rude and surly. The food was disgusting. It arrived within four minutes of ordering it and even that wasn't long enough in the microwave to heat it up properly from yesterday – or before. The tortilla – a slimy grey mess – was probably the worst of the dishes, but it's hard to pick between that and the lukewarm, undercooked meatballs, anchovies curling up with brown edges and the shrivelled cod fritters. We arrived at seven and were looking forward to a glass of wine and some almonds before some leisurely tapas – instead we were finished by 7.40 having had everything dumped on the table at the same time, except for the wine which came much later. A truly horrid meal. Thank goodness for the lovely waiter and waitress at Strada in the Brunswick centre where we had a second meal to take the taste away!

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 4.0

Matt P. gold reviewer 04 March 2013

I sat down for lunch here and was handed a bit of paper with a list of every tapas dish ever created. Closer inspection revealed that this was in fact the menu; I counted over 40 dishes. Normally this is a reliable indication that nothing will be executed well and many things will have been in the fridge for far too long, but Cigala defied expectations. Deep fried things were crispy, garlicky things had a punch and fresh things weren't tired. It was a good lunch. Service was pleasant but if there had been any more customers in the place they would have been in trouble; it was perhaps a third full and we still had to do a little waving to get attention. Plates weren't refreshed between courses and I had to ask to be served another drink; it was one of those occasions where I missed being up-sold. Nothing to warrant a complaint, but not top-notch. Decor is nice and neutral with white paper tablecloths, big wine glasses and solid cutlery; something I sometimes yearn for in these days of reclaimed crockery, cloudy tumblers and mismatched knives and forks.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Caped C. silver reviewer 28 July 2012

Stopped off here for a quick business lunch with one of my clients. Not sure why there are so many complaints about the service, thought it was perfectly fine. It was a lovely sunny day so we sat outside soaking up the atmosphere of Lamb Conduit's Street. We ordered a series of plates; Chicken Livers, Patas bravas, Cod croquettes, seranno ham, meat balls and many more. Some were better than others but on the whole not bad at all. Dishes range from 6 out of 10 to 7 out of 10. I would say the chef should pay more attention to seasoning and try tasting some of the dishes. A few such as the cod croquettes were pretty bland and underseasoned. This isn't one of those venues you come to treat yourself, it's more a quick and informal catch up place.

Food & Drink: 0.0

Service: 1.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 1.0

Tricia W. 21 July 2012

We have been going to Cigala since it opened – we been there 4 times over the past 6 months. This week we have eaten at St Johns and Gt Queen St. We know our food and like to eat well. I think that CIgala has been overtaken by better quality places if you want good Spanish/Portuguese or tapas food then Pisarro in Bermondesy; Eyre Brothers nr Liverpool St, and Brawn in Jesus Green or Morro in Exmouth Market are similarly priced but with much better food and welcoming owners. The staff at CIgala try their best, but the owner is a charmless witch and they are getting away with putting out poor quality food and then blaming the customers. Cigala is no longer good enough. Try one of the other places that I recommend if you are looking for good food in an excellent atmosphere. We won'g be going back, and that is sad after a decade of support, but they obviously do not want our business.

Food & Drink: 2.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 0.0

Value: 1.0

Francois S. 02 July 2012

The staff in this restaurant must be the worst in London. No smiles or welcome. When we asked for better service by a waitress we were told to go and sit somewhere else. We met an american family outside who were also badly treated and when we finally got hold of the manager we were told that they were very busy. We were offered no apology. It is obvious they don't care about their customers. My advice: don't set foot in this place

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

shane P. 15 September 2011

if you are in the mood for spanish food and wine there arent many places in london i have found to be better , the wine list is excellent and reasonable ( the house ribero del duro especially so ) while the food is authentic and well executed , service i have always found to be friendly efficent and helpful .

Food & Drink: 0.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 0.0

Value: 0.0

Alison F. 15 August 2010

On Friday The Telegraph was offering it's £10 restaurant deal and living relatively nearby and wanting to try the restaurant out, we selected Cigala. Voucher in hand and a copy of the paper as required, we set off for Sunday lunch. On arrival at an empty, atmosphereless restaurant the waitress informed us that the deal we had booked the lunch under did not apply. Ordinarily that might be acceptable – except that the booking had been in place for a few days and our telephone number was included. It would have been good to have received a call in advance advising us of this. We had taken the trouble to book in advance after all. When I presented the voucher the waitress argued “it wasn't anything to do with her” that the deal didn't apply. If there is one thing that exhibits poor customer service and a general disdain for your customers it is that kind of excuse. She was the only person in charge of the restaurant, seemed unbothered that we were put out and uninterested. I expect the price of the Telegraph lunch deal was not that much less than the restaurant's own set menu price and we would have forgone the whole deal issue anyway. But we were so unimpressed with the “couldn't care less” attitude on arrival we decided to go find somewhere with more atmosphere and maybe a little more charming customer service. Not difficult in London these days. Cigala is not somewhere we would return to and certainly not somewhere I would like to rely on for a corporate reservation of any kind. Worth bearing in mind.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 3.0

Massimo F. bronze reviewer 06 May 2010

Very good, if you go try the grilled Chorizo, is amazing!!! I have been few times, so be aware if is very busy, service tends to be poor.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Dustin S. 22 July 2009

Stronger and more interesting – and certainly more up-market – than your average tapas establishment. I do think we should have stuck to tapas instead of venturing into mains territory though. The pork belly proved too difficult to resist. While not as fatty as what one normally can expect it was slightly on the dry side – but it was massive and almost hung over both sides of the plate and that counted for a lot. Excellent service. The pick of the tapas was the black pudding and fried egg. Not exactly an evening dish but nicely presented, and thankfully nobody else at my table was brave enough to touch it. The lamb meat balls were way out in front of the average fare, not so the fried prawns which didnt really have that much to say. A very enjoyable evening all round and I'd recommend to anyone.

Food & Drink: 1.0

Service: 0.0

Atmosphere: 1.0

Value: 0.0

Karl V. 21 April 2009

Having used this website to obtain the top 10 tapas bars in central london and seeing that Cigala came up and was very close to my home me and my partner went round for some afternoon tapas (sat 18/4/09) – service was absolutely crap – and we were the only people there – waitress forgot about us sitting outside for 20mins and then jovially told us she had been chatting with friends and forgot about us. Food was either burnt or had a bitter taste from burnt garlic. 4 medium sized prawns (obviously re-heated and not cooked fresh) not even de-venied – which I am fine with but to charge that much… Came with some bitter garlic and olive oil for £7.50 is ludicrous. Pimentos de Padron – tiny portion with more than half burnt and crispy – nothing traditional there – hard stale bread, 5 halves of anhcovies per portion. burnt morcilla with an egg and migas (can't even describe how bad it was) – only saving grace was the Patatas Bravas but how hard is it to put a spicy tomato sauce on roast potatoes!!! it's an outrage that they have had such good reviews, can charge so much and appear so high on this list – although I haven't been to all the places in the top ten – I can assure you the best place for authentic good priced tapas is Navarros. I did raise my concerns at the time with waitress who was not interested one bit and told me ‘everyone else seems to like it’ – well that's ok then love – would never go back and would suggest you don't even bother going if your thinking about it.

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