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The ‘gin tonic’ has become a Spanish national obsession, so what better way to start a visit to Arbina (tag line a ‘taste of Spain’) than with a balloon-glass of the stuff dotted with peppercorns? On the menu, mains such as ox cheeks and paella are supplemented by a tapas list replete with trusted staples: from albóndigas (meatballs), tortillas and broken eggs to fried Padrón peppers. We can wholeheartedly recommend the sizzling garlic prawns and the crisp, creamy jamón croquettes – a tapas essential done right. We weren’t struck on mushrooms with grilled honey alioli (less flavoursome than the description promises), but a real favourite was Galician-style sliced octopus: just the right degree of tenderness, with a hit of smoky hot paprika. There’s a warm, casual feel to the place – helped by wooden furniture, barrel tables and Spanish produce peppered about – and the unfashionable location, at the Warren Street end of Fitzrovia, adds a ‘hidden gem’ vibe. Having coveted our neighbour’s cheese and jamón boards, we’ll return when the sun shines to grab an outdoor table and watch the world go by. Bowl of gin in hand, of course.
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25 July 2017
This is a pleasant neighbourhood restaurant, of which there ought to be more in Fitzrovia. It appears to be family owned and the family is frantic. As a result of low staffing, there is a general ambiance of silent desperation that is reminiscent of the hapless Basil Fawlty. The cooking is competent but not outstanding. This is simple Spanish fare with some of the dishes giving the sense of having been long pre-cooked. It is food that is served without a sense of pride and in cramped surroundings. Punters did not know which was the front door so I often had to stand up to allow people to pass behind me. This included one of those oversized prams that heartless mothers impose on small restaurants. Despite all of these shortcomings, the restaurant filled up nicely during lunch. That may have been due to the kindly support that family restaurants deserve and receive.
31 May 2016
Authentic Spanish resto, hidden little jewel very closed to Warren Street Station...
Traditional stews (they serve Cocido Madrileño!!!!) and contemporary Tapas with Lunch menus from 9 to 12 pounds, great place for sharing food and enjoying generous Drinks. These are really "Copas" as we Spaniards call them: enough gin to properly call it Gin&Tonic, and not the other way around! I just loved it, I will come back!
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