Tag Archives: tapas

Carmen Bar De Tapas

Ever since I started working at my new work place my new colleagues had been raving about tapas at Carmen‘s and just wouldn’t stop banging on about these so called blue cheese croquettes. The sad thing was that every time they mentioned these blue cheese croquettes they’d just zone out and start to dribble, I had to find out if all this hype was bad taste or whether they were onto something good.

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So off we went on a school trip to Carmen Bar De Tapas one glorious summer’s evening with a nice walk round Old Town Clapham and Clapham Common, so romantic. It is a wonderful area I must say and I will be exploring more of this place over the next few months I hope.

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Carmen Bar De Tapas is tiny and family owned, which I love. Not the best idea to go with a large group of people, especially loud people like us who are so un-pc.
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The menu is so easy to read and the waiter/owner is there to guide you through everything. We ordered three dishes each and just had a free for all and shared everything which is the kind of experience I love. You really get a sense of closeness like family when you share dishes and being an Asian I’m well up for that.
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I’m sorry but I didn’t take pictures of everything as I got stuck in the moment of stuffing my face with this delicious food. The Blue Cheese Croquettes were AMAZING. Oh dear god, the party on my tongue, I’m salivating at the thought of it. So soft, so creamy and so morish! I could have eaten 100 of those. They come with a carrot chutney which is to die for.
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My god we had 21 dishes between us so I’ll just name some of my faves. The beef stuffed peppers coating in cheese was lovely, the meat was flavoured with tomatoes, herbs and spices and topped with a mountain of cheese. The baked aubergines were another fan fave with béchamel sauce and again topped with a mountain of cheese.  The tricolor salad was lovely and refreshing and the mozzarella just melted in your mouth.
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We ordered some potatoes with garlic aioli and may I say it has to be the best aioli that I have tasted in a while.
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The service was impeccable and we polished off every bit of food. Definitely go with the restaurants recommendation of three dishes per person as it’s a perfect amount. I must bring Elena here soon. Love, love, love this place and love my team for bringing me here.

Top tip: get the Blue Cheese Croquettes without a fail.

Avoid: the prosecco. It is not the best pairing for tapas.

Carmen Bar De Tapas
6 Clapham Common South Side, London SW4 7AA

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Brindisa

If you ‘google’ best places to eat around London bridge station, it is guaranteed that Brindisa Tapas would have been close to the top of the list.

I am not 100% sure it was a good idea to review this place after 5 hours of drinking, tipsy munchies do tend to go out of control, but here it goes in any case.

We arrived at the restaurant at 11o’clock, very pleased to find it open and buzzing. The restaurant reminded me of a fast food eatery with the lights a little too bright, loud customer crowd and pumping music.

IMG_0068In true pick and mix style we have ordered a little bit of everything with a few recommendations from our waiter.

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Overall the food didn’t wow me, although we have finished every plate. Dishes were not exciting, the flavors were not surprising. Ham was a dry, the egg dish had bits that were a little too uncooked for my taste buds.

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Desserts were definitely something that helped this meal out and ended it on a good note. No complaints here!

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I am afraid to say that Brindisa might be a bit of a tourist trap. If you are after good tapas in the city, i would definitely recommend Polpo (review to come) over Brindisa. Although its unfair to compare Venetian tapas with Spanish, for a similar price you will be getting tapas with a little more thought behind the taste pairing, more innovative menu and much cooler atmosphere.

Brindisa Tapas
18-20 Southwark Street, London SE1 1TJ
http://www.brindisatapaskitchens.com

El Nivel

Friday night after work my friend asked me to meet her in one of the most exciting Mexican spots in Covent Garden. It was a little tricky to find it, disguised above La Perla bar, accessed through a narrow door. If you don’t have a booking, you must be feeling lucky – place is so small, you will feel like you’ve won a lottery if the hostess lets you go upstairs.

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The size of this restaurant is one of the charms. It felt like you walk into someone’s living room decorated with a massive chandelier and stunning paintings. Being a Mexican restaurant, there was no cactus in sight, which was nice for change. Restaurant was fully booked so we perched by the tapas bar, which was perfect for a girlie catch up with my friend.

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El Nivel is famous for agave spirits. In fact Tomas Estes, ambassador to Europe for tequila and owner of this establishment, was drinking with friends next to us. Unfortunately we didn’t get to try the tequila but settled for some very fancy frozen fruit cocktails.

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So about 15 minutes into our time there the food started coming. We decided to sample a few dishes from every section – meats, seafood and vegetarian.

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Food is Mexican with an Asian touch. You will find your usual tortilla is replaced by Chinese pancake. Which makes it a refreshing dish!

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We also ate pork belly chicharones which were amazing, scallops were even better and garlic and creme potatoes were fabulous. Every dish was delicious, I just wish we didn’t pretend to be classy ladies but rolled our sleeves up and tucked in properly.

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From the first bite El Nivel made it on my list of one of the best restaurants in central and I look forward to bringing all my friends here one by one.

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El Nivel
28 Alto Maiden Lane WC2E 7JS
http://www.elnivel.co.uk

Pizarro

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I came to Jose Pizarro restaurant for a work dinner, which ended up being the perfect venue for that kind of visit. Not too stiff not too overly relaxed and loud. For Friday night it was of course very busy, although their bar area looked nice, serving Spanish style gin tonics, I highly advise you to make reservations.

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Pizerro is essentially a tapas restaurant, so we didn’t waste any time with the menu and ordered a selection of dishes to share:

Chicken liver pate
Chorizo iberico
Marinated white anchovies
Artichoke 3 ways
And after peaking at a massive slab of meat delivered to our neighbors table we have also ordered steak.

Really enjoyed the variety of dishes on the menu and everything was very lovely. Food reminded me of good pub grub but with massive flare. Me and my colleagues kept reaching over and across to dip the bread into the pate, or to grab one more slice of that gorgeous steak.

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I have to say that Daura gluten free beer came as a surprise, so smooth it went perfectly well with the mains and was flowing all night long. Of course no one can resist something sweet after dinner, and so we tucked into a selection of desserts that really hit the spot!

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I need to find an excuse to come back!

Star rating: *****

Pizarro

194 Bermondsey Street,

London, SE1 3TQ

http://www.josepizarro.com/restaurants/pizarro-restaurant