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14 Gambia Street
Well-worn features and a faded green frontage testify to Mar I Terra’s longevity and enduring appeal – and it’s easy to see why people keep coming back to this thoroughly authentic tapas joint.
There’s no doubting the excellence of the all-Spanish wine list or the punchy vigour of the nifty menu – try habas tiernas de Lodosa (baby broad beans sautéed with pata negra ham, mint, tomato and
sofrito), higadillos de pollo (chicken livers with Cabernet Sauvignon vinegar on a bed of spinach) or garlicky sardines ‘a la plancha’. Food is available throughout the day, although it’s limited
to cold deli plates during the afternoon – so draw up a perch at the bar (a relic from the building’s past life as a boozer) and conjure up some satisfaction from a glass of sherry plus a plate of
exclusive jamón gran reserva.
14 Gambia Street
020 7928 7628
Southwark Tube Station 202m
Waterloo East Station 245m
Union Theatre 65m
Jerwood Space 250m
Mon-Fri 12N-11pm, Sat 5.30pm-11pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
Tucked in a side street not far from the bustling South Bank, Mar I Terra is worth a visit simply for the peace and quiet. A sense of serenity pervades the whole restaurant – which isn't hard given it is the size of my front room.
For this reason it is charming. We were greeted on entry by some very authentic looking nuns, and things just got quainter. You could reach out and touch just about every other table in the place, the waiter was moustached and paunchy, the food was delivered via a dumb waiter that must have been operated by hand, and the dishes were as rustic as any I have eaten in London.
And they were glorious too. It is hard to amaze a diner with the basic Patatas Bravas, but the garish orange of the sauce and crispness of the potatoes drew me in, and gave me a benchmark against which all potato/tomato based dishes will now be judged.
The octopus was another highlight, and the rest of the food passed in mist of war as my companions fought over the last of it. The blurriness perhaps helped by the excellent wine selection, which kept us entertained thoughout the meal.
Eating at Mar I Terra is a jarringly intimate experience, but isn't that a refreshing change for London? I heartilty recommend it.
Food + drink: 0
The service it's quite awful, no one can't speak english and less recomend a good wine.
The food it's “ok” but its quite expensive and sometimes the want to include in the bill things that you don't ordered. Also the manager behaves differently depending the social status of the customer…
I don't recomend this place at all!
Food + drink: 1
This place has really gone down the pan. We used to come here when we lived close by a couple of years ago but when we dropped in recently we had a less than luke warm experience.
The first thing that hits you is the smell of bleach.. well at least it must be clean. Staff didn't have a clue about the wine, even though it was Spanish wine and couldn't tell us what grape it was, but were pleasant enough when they weren't hovering over you waiting for you to finish and talking about you in Spanish!
The food used to be some of the best tapas in London but now it's pretty average and seems like you're being served up luke warm left overs that have been sitting there all night. The patatas bravas was unlike anything you've ever seen or tasted before – potatoes covered in huge dollops of greasy orange mayo. God knows what it actually was… The cold garlic bread was inedible and burnt – how it can be both burnt and cold I don't know. The only edible thing we had was the gambas pil pil which were hot and sizzling when they came out which made up for tasteless tapas.
We decided not to tip gratuity – afterall it is optional – which resulted in an agressive interrogation by the owner from behind the bar as to why we were not tipping before being asked to leave. We were ignored when we asked for our folded bike back which the owner had very begrudgingly stored away behind the bar area…in the end we had to ask one of the waiters to get it for us.
A horrible restaurant with a very unpleasant owner. To be avoided!
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