SquareMeal Review of
We were delighted when Victor Garvey, co-founder of the estimable Bravas Tapas at St Katharine Docks, launched his own venue. Starting out as Duende, the restaurant has now rebranded as Encant (Catalan for ‘charming’), as plans for a second central London site are set in motion. On our visit, the food was seriously good. The tiny room emits a welcoming glow with its copper-topped bar and dangling filament bulbs, providing a suitably dramatic backdrop for exquisitely crafted modern tapas. We began with artistically arrayed semi-cured beef fillet, the soft meat contrasting with zesty pickled eryngii mushrooms, crunchy hazelnuts and truffle. Fried oysters with Amontillado sherry arrive in their shell, dotted with caviar and almond flakes; crispy tiger prawns are wrapped in flaky kataifi pastry. Our standout dish was bite-size salmon rulada rolls, filled with red-onion escabeche and punchy wasabi alioli. Only the heavily salted pancetta wrapped around tiny foie gras-stuffed quails’ legs sounded a minor off-key note. The all-Spanish wine list has plenty of quirky bottles, with new choices added weekly. Gin tonicas include Sipsmith and Monkey 47, and cocktails, especially the elegant White Negroni, are also appealing. Our only quibble concerns the cramped space, which means tables are hard to book. However, with a second site on the way, there’ll be plenty more opportunity to eat at Encant.