Drakes Tabanco

3 Windmill Street , London, W1T 2HY

020 7637 9388

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SquareMeal Review of Drakes Tabanco

The founders of Copita and Barrica have extended their Spanish crusade with Drakes Tabanco – an old-style sherry tavern offering exclusive tipples drawn direct from the barrel using a traditional ‘venencia’ cup. Among the choice sips, look for off-dry Rare Old India and 30-year-old Antique Palo Cortado from the renowned Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla; otherwise pick something from the ‘shop shelf’ or fill a bottle from the barrel of your choice. Those wanting solid sustenance should head to the back of the venue, where a menu of Andalusian-inspired tapas is bolstered by ideas from nearer home – think air-dried tuna, goose rillettes, Ibérico pork tongue, smoked scallops, gravlax and octopus stew. The venue takes its name from seafaring hero Sir Frances Drake – the first man to bring butts of sherry to England as contraband in the wake of the Armada.

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7.3

Food & Drink: 8.0

Service: 8.3

Atmosphere: 7.5

Value: 8.3

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Paul T. bronze reviewer 03 November 2017

A very friendly atmosphere, though the music might be a little too loud for good conversation. Menu wasn't very extensive but we were very satisfied with our choices. Lots of wines on offer. Interesting, fun art on the walls, and lots of hams hanging from the ceiling beams + charcuterie helps with the Spanish style. Prices and service were good. Fantastic location.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Joanna G. platinum reviewer 03 June 2016

I've been meaning to pop in here for a while now as husband is a sherry fan and last night we did. I sat at one of the small high tables for two in the bar waiting for husband, drinking a lovely glass of cava and was presented with a "tapas" by one of the staff to accompany my drink. I was a little dismayed as it was about the only item on the menu that I would never order - goats cheese (eeeugh). Being British though, I couldn't possibly be so rude as to not even try it, and I am very glad that I did as it was gorgeous. It was a very light whipped goats cheese, with truffle, honey and almonds on a crisp piece of bread and absolutely delicious. So delicious in fact, that when husband arrived, we ordered a full plate of it, plus some of the best jamon iberico that we have tasted (and I have eaten a LOT), some bread, olives and olive oil. There are some interesting sounding dishes on the menu, we will have to come back and sample them. There are probably only 40 covers at most with seating at the bar and high tables dotted around, quite rustic in style. The staff were all very friendly and knowledgeable about their menu and sherries on offer. I was told that they had a special offer if you book through "another" website for a 3 course meal for £19, which is very good value. I think this could be a new favourite spot for drinks and tapas on the way home.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 4.0

Christine B. 29 May 2014

My husband and I had a very nice lunch yesterday. The food was good and the service was excellent. Our waitress was really friendly and helpful and advised us of the different sherries they supplied. It was not too busy but enough people were there to create a good atmosphere. Music was not too loud which is a definate plus these days. Would visit again if in the area.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 2.0

Atmosphere: 1.0

Value: 4.0

Gourmand Gunno platinum reviewer 04 November 2013

It is self-evident that newcomers need to do something a little different and fight very hard if they are to survive on the London restaurant scene. This is particularly the case in the Fitzrovia nexus of Charlotte Street and Goodge Street where diners are already spoilt for choice. Against this background comes Drakes Tabanco, a ‘tabanco’ being – so the restaurant’s website informed me – “a tavern typical of Jerez which serves sherry wines straight from the barrel, along with simple tasty food.” So far, so good, hence the decision of my comrade and I to visit Drakes last Friday at lunchtime. Our booking was for 12h15 and so I was not necessarily surprised by the fact that we were the first guests there, but what did surprise me was that by around 2, when we left, no-one else had come to the restaurant. Even accounting for the Spanish predilection for late dining (albeit this is London rather than Iberia) and the fact that Drakes is on a side street, this meant, simply, that there we had to create our own atmosphere. The staff tried their hardest to be enthusiastic (and did a good job given the circumstances), but even their commitment seemed to wane as time wore on. Maybe it gets really busy in the evenings and a return visit would be merited in terms of the quality of the food and drink, but clearly either we were missing something (i.e. this just isn’t a lunch place, and so maybe shouldn’t even open then) or everyone else is (i.e. it is a hidden gem). In terms of the food, we shared one charcuterie platter and one fish platter giving us ample opportunity to sample Drakes’ wares. We were impressed, with the range and freshness of the produce as well as the presentation. The cured pork tongue, game terrine and sardines stood out in particular. The sherries (admittedly an acquired taste, but one to my liking), also were high quality and we progressed from a light and refreshing Fino to a more dense and textured old Oloroso. Everything is priced competitively (single tapas dishes and glasses of sherry at around £5 each), and more conventional mains and drinks are also on offer. Drakes has much to offer, but this is by no means a must-visit place, and whether it is even around in a year’s time also remains to be seen.

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