Saturday, 28 March 2009

Tierra Brindisa

Saturdays are precious to me, it's the time I get to see my daughter and spoil her rotten with her teenage must-haves and a half-decent lunch. You could say that I'm one of those people who like to plan an itinerary ahead, a Plan A of anything will always have an insurance of Plan B to supervene upon should the need arise. My admiration for Angela Hartnett has always been steadfast and I’ve yet to test the water at her Murano restaurant. Unfortunately my request for a table for two at Plan A was turned down, likewise the Plan B idea of another Ramsay eatery that’s Maze couldn’t be fulfilled. All this on a Saturday when the G20 demo march commenced with an indifferent pomp, an occasion when all the good (albeit cash strapped) middle class folks should be staying at home instead of fine(ish) dining! And precisely, the mere mention of recession is pure folly as both Murano and Maze were fully booked!

Precursor to lunch of books and shoes

Plan Cs are often the most reliable, they never fail you; one just saunters into the restaurant and demand to be fed, knowingly without a reservation or notice. Tierra Brindisa is one such example. In fact it’s also a Plan C for a different reason, if I fancy a Spanish type repast it’s always third in the pecking order to Dehesa and Barrafina respectively. This is not to say that Tierra Brindisa is inferior to the other two. It’s not. It’s simply down to that conclusive phrase of primus inter pares. Situated in a no man's land of Soho, one could quite easily walk past the unassuming shop front without a second thought. Unlike its nearby neighbours of Fernandez & Wells making a statement of the legs of ham in their window and Mrs Marengo's similarly but with cakes instead, Tierra Brindisa reminded me of an understated tearoom in a forlorn seaside town.

Crunchy Times

When this place first opened in October last year the hype surrounding it was spectacular, the reputation brought forward by the success of its older sibling Tapas Brindisa at London Bridge was second to none. If you ever considered yourself to be a serious foodie you would be foolish not to make an appearance here. The dining room is split in two zones-

The front part is all quite dark and done up in such a way that it wouldn’t look out of place in the John Lewis furniture department

The second zone towards the back is where I would aspire to settle. The skylights wonderfully light this room and it’s also where the open kitchen is situated. There’s something assuring about sitting in close proximity to the nerve centre of a restaurant. Service is purely matter-of-fact, and the usual indistinct blabber of Ingleesh is as ever present. (Oh the waitresses here are all rather dishy as well- nice touch!)

This is my third time here (I’m not bragging, just making sure that my previous reviews still reflect the current visits) and I’m pleased to say that lunch today was very enjoyable.

Aragon olives with paprika- all very pleasant and mildly spicy but not as wholesome or satisfying as the ginormous Gordal olives.

Country toast with allioli (Catalan spelling)- I know it’s only garlic and olive oil, but that Aioli was fantastic.

Montanera lomo ibérico bellota

The jamón would be twice the price, but the lomo (loin) was sublime, sweet and very nearly melting.

Cauliflower salad with orange, coriander and chilli dressing- I absolutely adored this and it also incensed me to nag on my daughter to have more greens. Why do kids instil the pointless fear of eating veg unto themselves?

Salt crusted fillets of Sea Bream with fennel salad- Pure utter Mediterranean heaven, the fish was mightily fresh and wondrous tasting.

The zesty fennel salad was perfectly dressed!

Grilled Poussin with taboulé (sic)- The chicken was beautifully tender (a dish that’s so often overcooked to dryness) and the seasoning was spot on.

Daughter didn’t care much for the couscous, personally I would’ve preferred cracked wheat for the tabbouleh. Together with the fish, these were both tremendous highlights.

Dark chocolate fondant with saffron ice cream- A fifteen minutes wait was required for this pudding.

We both agreed it wasn’t worth the wait for it was a trifle too bitter and uninspiring. Daughter said strawberry ice cream would’ve been better suited than the saffron.

I still prefer the ambience of both Barrafina and Dehesa, the quality of the food at Tierra Brindisa is thankfully right up there with them. As pointed out earlier there’s also more chance of securing a table here as well. I like this place enough to embrace it. Hand on heart recommendation.

46 Broadwick Street

My previous encounter at Trusted Places.


Ibérico ham croquetas

Country toast with tomato

Red mullet with oven potatoes and black olives

León chorizo with piquillo pepper on country toast

Ibérico pork cheeks with butterbeans

Gordal olives with orange and marjoram

Joselito Gran Reserca jamón ibérico bellota

Prawns cooked with garlic and chilli

Deep fried Monte Enebro goat's cheese with orange blossom honey

Orange sorbet


Hollow Legs said...

Can I be your daughter? I love vegetables...

I still haven't been here, nor any of the Brindisas... or Barafina... or Dehesa... or Saltyard and this upsets me greatly!

bellaphon said...

Crikey, I'm old but not that jurassic! Salt Yard, gotta go there next!

thora said...

Jurassic Park informs: any visible part of a vegetable is instantly removed from the plate by my daughter. Trying to recall when my own love for veggies came up, most certainly not before my 20th birthday and a couple of kilos too many. - Nice post.

bellaphon said...

Thora- Thank you. You've only reminded me of my own selective ditetary convictions. I stopped eating fruits when I started smoking only to rediscover the joys of it five months ago. That's twenty years of lost...