Chef and restaurateur Victor Garvey has made a name for himself with a pair of restaurants (Sibarita, Bravas Tapas) cut from a different cloth from the Spanish norm. Rambla, his latest, is named after the most famous street in Barcelona and its breezy design is meant to evoke the city’s beachfront restaurants, although the people-watching is arguably more diverting here, through big windows looking onto Dean Street.
The menu deals in raw and cured meats and Catalonian specialities from the mountains and the sea, and Garvey is once again to be congratulated for attempting to wean Londoners off chorizo al vino and ham crouquetas. So while you will find croquetas at Rambla, they’re filled with spinach and topped with pine nuts; elsewhere there are meaty lamb chops with rosemary aioli, a Camembert-like navat cheese baked in a dish with bread and crudités for dipping, and excellent octopus grilled to almost-melting gooeyness, with crispy garlic and tarragon aioli. It’s all nicely dine, if lacking the high-octane culinary thrills of Encant, but ticking the box for a younger, more casual crowd. To drink, a gin and tonic served in a highball rather than the giant balloon glasses we’ve got used to seemed like a missed opportunity, although the bottle of white Idoia that the waiter recommended is the sort of wine you take a photo of to track down online when you get home.