20 December 2015
I am not entirely clear what the twist in the name Twist at Crawford means, as it is very much a local tapas restaurant. There are cured legs of pig hanging around demanding to be sliced thinly; the music is background and unobtrusive; people who are indeed local chat with the waiters and waitresses. Every now and again though, there is something that isn't the usual fare in Spain: yellow fin tartar with a yuzu sauce; foie gras with fig reduction and aged balsamic vinegar; pumpkin gnocchi, that look like little quails eggs, and taste divine: none of these one would find in the back streets of San Sebastien, but they sit next to the Jamon Iberico, pork belly and croquettes as if perfectly natural bed fellows.
Prices are standard for this part of London, the selection of wine by the glass is small but adequate and the cocktails good and fairly priced.
Above all, however, what makes this such a wonderful place is the service. It is the speediest, it isn’t the slickest or the most professional in town, but it is amongst the friendliest. They understand what service is. An example: just after we arrived and were sat, a group came in for their 8.30 booking. Their table wasn't free, so the waiter did two things, swiftly and without hesitation: he gave free glasses of fizz to the inconvenienced group, and moved the group that had overstayed to the bar, taking their bottle with them. These two simple things, made one big impact: everyone was happy, everyone moved on seamlessly with their evening, feeling not the slightest put out. Compare this to the experience that I had received at Lurra a few days before, and the contrast could not have been starker: at Lurra we had been left in the cold with nothing for over half-an-hour, whilst the waitresses fannied about doing nothing about moving the overstaying table on. For the price of a couple of glasses of Prosecco, Twist guaranteed that people will come back. Failure to do so at Lurra cost a local restaurant local trade. I know which of my local Spanish restaurants I will return to again and again.