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32 Exmouth Market
‘Orange is the New Black’, as they say on TV, which makes the chosen colour for the dinky offshoot of big-hitting Moro totally on-trend. Morito is a tiny spot and it fills up fast (bookings are only taken at lunchtime), but we guarantee you’ll love this immensely stylish little joint. Once you’re in, get stuck into small plates with a decidedly rustic Spanish flavour: salt cod croquetas, Padrón peppers, jamón Ibérico, patatas bravas and other tapas classics are all here, but keep an eye out for the specials too – perhaps pork belly with mojo verde or deep-fried rabbit shoulder flavoured with rose harissa. The plancha turns out lamb chops spiced up with cumin and paprika, while desserts might include a divine chocolate and olive oil mousse. The enticing all-Iberian wine list features some splendid sherries and watch out for Morito’s annual ‘seafood and sherry’ festival.
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SquareMeal 2 Stars
32 Exmouth Market
Kings Cross Thameslink Station 623m
Farringdon Tube Station 713m
London Metropolitan Archives 141m
Sadler's Wells Theatre and Lillian Baylis Theatre 497m
Mon-Sun 12N-4pm Mon-Sat 5-11pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
Morito's 4th Annual Seafood Festival runs throughout the week to bring the taste of the sea to London with their sherry and seafood pairing. Seafood has been the core at Morito's heart and I have been a fan of Morito's cookbook. The recipes that I have tried have made regular appearances at large dinner parties, as well as a flair of elegance for a romantic dinner for two for Mr L and myself.
I could not be more than excited when my friend took me on this special seafood menu paired with sherry! The sherry started off with a very dry and light. Throughout the meal, it got progressively darker in colour and taste, sweeter.
I felt it could have been a more educative and fulfilled evening if we were given more information about the sherry or why they had chosen it rather than only reiterating the name and walking away hastily.
If it was solely based on this seafood menu as their fanfare, I am not sure that I was as impressed by the restaurannt I was cooking from Morito's cookbook. Overall, the quality of the food was good. The servings of the sherry was also very generous. But I still would prefer to make a concluded opinion about Morito after I had a proper dinner.
At £55.00 I felt it was a little dear. And I'd certainly like to be seated more comfortably instead of high stool bar seats.
Food + drink: 3
Unlike bigger and slightly more upmarket neigbour Moro (the one your parents will really approve of) there are no reservations at the orange formica clad bar, where sharp elbowed trendies joust with local suits for space to pile their terracotta plates and baskets of fresh soft roundels and densely spiced flat breads made in Moro's bakery next door.
The bread is essential. Warm if you're lucky, moreish either way. It soaks up the fresh olive oil bottled on each table and its soft, open structure is perfect for scooping up little piles of za'atar (a piquant Arab herb mix on the table with the salt). The za'tar is a giveaway that this isn't a typical tapas bar, but one heavily influenced by Spain's Southern and Middle Eastern neighbours.
We started with one of the most remote of these influences, a soft, silken, oil infused Iranian Borani. Pureed beetroot with feta, dill and walnut was a perfect accompaniment to the breads and vanished swiftly with another Moorish dish of soft spiced lamb mince served on creamy roast aubergine. Lest there was no crunch to the meal, we sampled salt cod croquettas, soft fish yielding under a buttery breadcrumb carapace so good we followed it almost instantly with another plate, this time of jamon and chicken, a little too mushy inside but forgivably so. I was less forgiving of a dish of Butifarra sausage. Four thin discs drowning in an over oily mass of soft white beans, oddly tepid and served with a splodge of garlicky aioli.
I can never resist pimientos de Padrón when they appear on a menu, here a good value £3.50, hot, flame charred and oiled like tiny green Lucha Libre wrestlers, the rare ‘Hot One’ threatening to kick your throat in. No luck tonight, though they provided a sharp salty contrast to a menu a little steeped in oil and cream. A final hurrah came with a small wooden platter of crisp baby squid. We realised half way through that they were whole, inch long tubes of fried fry or battered baby. Either way it felt like piscine infanticide on an epic scale.
Busy and buzzy even at 9.30 on a Tuesday night there was a wait, this really is somewhere you stumble into rather than a planned ‘eat at eight’ mission. If you want that, go to the slightly more upscale Moro next door. Just make sure you eat well enough to drown out any envy of the snake hipped youth hanging outside.
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