He says: Tapas has become a cuisine from origins of being simple snacks. A few minutes walk away from Brixton station and just a stone throw away from Clapham Common, amidst the takeaways shops, resides Boqueria. Those familiar with Barcelona will know the name Boqueria as it is one of the famous markets there called “El Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria”. Fortunately for us we don’t have to travel that far to try some of this Catalan cuisine, just a bit south of the river Thames.
She says: Boqueria was the recipient of Timeout London’s ‘Best new cheap eats’ in 2012 and we’re here on a Friday night to find out why! A quick scan of the room and we find tables scattered with classy young professionals, a few that fall into the ‘date night’ category and others that look like their on a girls night out, with the plentiful assortment of pubs nearby for a drink or two after a wholesome feed.
The food: We ordered a mixture of traditional, meat, seafood and vegetarian tapas, with a couple of their blackboard specials and a slow cooked ‘Arroz’ or rice dish that will take a little longer to be served. This was accompanied by a bottle of easy to drink red with mild acidity – the Viña Eguía Crianza, Rioja 2007.
Highlights of the night:
Arroz negros – Black rice with squid and mussels
Merluza en salsa verde - Filet of hake with prawns & mussels on a herb sauce
Pimientos de Padrón (£4.80)
After our recent trip to San Sebatian in Spain we were really craving padron peppers. These were nicely cooked, sprinkled with sea salt for flavour to offset the slight bitterness. A great start to a tapas meal!
Cochinillo asado (£8.70)
Suckling pig with parsnip, sweet potato crisps apple sauce and lemon sorbet. Mixing hot and cold was an interesting idea – perhaps a Spanish twist on ‘sweet and sour pork’. The meat was cooked well with crispy skin and tender meat, it had a divine smell. I felt the sorbet should be eaten separately from the pork, rather than together. It was slightly a strange taste, but eating the sorbet after as a palette cleanser worked for me.
Merluza en salsa verde (£7.90)
Fillet of hake with prawns and mussels. The sauce that the seafood was swimming in was amazing. We were drinking the sauce and dipping our bread into this by the end of the dish.
Arroz negros (£9.80)
Black rice, it tasted as good as it looked. Nice use of squid ink! The rice was cooked well and delicious throughout. She says “I’d lick the bowl”
Crema catalana (£3.80)
Good value dessert, full of sweet creamy goodness!
The verdict: Despite how busy Boqueria was on a Friday night, the staff were friendly and appeared to be of Spanish descent, which helped when we asked what our waitress’ favourite dishes were. Overall the quality of food was good, but perhaps not quite to the same level as Her favourite Argentinian tapas Zoilo or His local Spanish haunt Jose. However, the tapas at Boqueria seem better priced starting from £4.00-£8.00. Seems like a great local restaurant for those living around in Clapham or Brixton. Impressed that despite it’s location, the restaurant was completely packed to the rafters. The meal was really satisfying and I would come back in the future if ever craving for a moderately priced Spanish meal outside of Zone 1. FYI if you download their app for iPhone or Android to collect loyalty points, you can get a free glass of Fino sherry.
Disclaimer: love2feed were invited to eat as guests of Boqueria.