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El Faro


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Another hot tip from Simons and Robins blog (don't forget chaps these are the guys who star spotted Bacchus and

Hawksmoor while the rest of us were still trying to get bookings for El Bulli summer '09). Good gig though.

Basically amazing, authentic northern spanish nosh in a nasty brick pile the wrong end of the Isle of Dogs.

Ok I exagerrate. Its basically a skip along from Crossharbour dlr so actually well convenient for us denizens of Canary Wharf. A quick supper tonite after working late. In no apparent order:

Cubes of pork belly lacquered with apricot (jam maybe?) And with a squiz of balsamic on side. Fatty, tasty, not utterly butterly melting fatty but more than good enough.

Scrambled eggs with mushrooms and sea urchins - a damn reasonably priced dish shot through with tongues of sea urchin (apparently they get their own from spain - I'm sure you'd pay an arm and a leg for the same stuff in a sushi joint). Only complaint, a little gritty.

A bowl of crisp, fresh bread, an olive studded ficelle and various other white bread doodads.

A dish of roast suckling pig, again the skin not quite crispy but neither was it flabby. Pig tender and tasty (some belly flaps and a bit of shoulder or leg), served with quince jelly and some superfluous parsley mashed potatos.

A platter or jabugo ham, hand sliced with crusty croutons on the side slathered in olive oil and chopped tomato.

Some moreish spinach, cheese and cod croquettes, plus a sneaky side order of aioli to dip the little bastards.

Gracious service and atmosphere. What more could you ask for? (Apart from a better location)

The best restaurant in london east of bacchus and north of magdalen?

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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Another hot tip from Simons and Robins blog (don't forget chaps these are the guys who star spotted Bacchus and

Hawksmoor while the rest of us were still trying to get bookings for El Bulli summer '09).

An alternative view of Bacchus from a recent Guardian review by a mysterious "roving chef" click.

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Another hot tip from Simons and Robins blog (don't forget chaps these are the guys who star spotted Bacchus and

Hawksmoor while the rest of us were still trying to get bookings for El Bulli summer '09).

An alternative view of Bacchus from a recent Guardian review by a mysterious "roving chef" click.

Sorry Andy, feeling a bit dim today (stuck on quite a dull cfa course).

Could you clarify what point you're trying to make with this post?

J

Edited by Jon Tseng (log)
More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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Sorry Andy, feeling a bit dim today (stuck on quite a dull cfa course).

Could you clarify what point you're trying to make with this post?

That Bacchus appears to have divided opinion and that not everyone views it as a hot tip and a star. I have no opinion as I haven't been.

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Oh I certainly agree that that Bacchus divides opinion. If I recall fay maschler was lukewarm on the place while marina in her sister publication absolutely loved it.

Note that the fact that not everyone views it as a star doesn't mean it isn't a star. In fact I'd go further and say I'm pretty sure Bacchus is a nailed on star and one of the outstanding restaurants in London today. In particular I'd note:

- I've had a couple of meals there and probably got thru 20+ preparations. Its pretty clear from tasting the food that Nuno has an outstanding talent for matching flavours and textured. The dishes are esoteric but more often than not they do work and more.

- Yes there are differences of view but the balance of opinion from informed diners who's' opinions I rate (on this board and on others) has been overwhelmingly positive. You might be able to bluff once or twice but you can't hide from an organised degustation with of twenty ravenous foodies!

- I applaud the innovation of the place. Pip could have played it safe, done a gastropub, served but some salt a pepper squid and cashed in. Instead he's gone out on the limb to create an establishment that tries to break the boundaries (fine dining in trainers - ugh) and is completely unique on the London scene. Not saying its going to work commercially we shall see! But you've got to admire the chutzpah.

(Hello Pip, can I have a free meal next time I drop in now? ;-) )

Andy you really should go. Heck not going in your situation is like going to vancouver and not visiting a single chinese restaurant. ;-) Honestly, maybe you'll hate it but at least you'd find it interesting.

Cheers

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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Heck not going in your situation is like going to vancouver and not visiting a single chinese restaurant. ;-)

I did go to one - in fact I managed to find what is perhaps the only bad Chinese in Vancouver which I think you'll agree is something of an achievement.

I will get my trainers on and sprint down there as soon as pressure of work allows.

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I did go to one - in fact I managed to find what is perhaps the only bad Chinese in Vancouver which I think you'll agree is something of an achievement.

I will get my trainers on and sprint down there as soon as pressure of work allows.

Hehe. Do go. You'll find it interesting at least.

Although given my luck i bet the nite u go the chef will be sick, the fish will be off and the food will probably taste like poo. ;-)

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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Going back to the original subject, I went to Faro some months ago and it is jolly good as said. Weird place the Isle of Dogs - old cranes and yuppie joggers, bare buildings etc. Could almost be a different city

S

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  • 3 weeks later...

I concur. We first went for our team xmas lunch last year and haven't stopped going back since - for lunch or dinner. I've even dragged the other half out here after work from west london so he could finally taste what I kept tantalisingly raving on about - the best affordable authentic (north) spanish cooking in London that I've come across yet (though to be fair I haven't worked my way through all of them yet!)

Barrafina is great but El Faro is just as good if not better and you don't have to wait 45min to be seated (though not as well located). The steaks are amazing - aged, perfectly cooked and with large flakes of salt on top. I'll take that over the more expensive Gaucho Grill any day (the nearest place to work to get a decent steak)

Had better navajas (razor clams) there than I have had in Spain - not gritty at all.

Great service - the spanish waitress is always lovely and works hard to make sure you've ordering enough food (and suggests when you have ordered too much, as I always do) and that the meal is going smoothly.

El Faro may not have the most convenient location for all - but all the better for me - keep the crowds away (though I hope not so far away that the restaurant suffers. They deserve to do well)

Check it out on a weekend sometime. It could be a nice location to visit in the summer when it's nice outside. they have views over the water.

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Barrafina is great but El Faro is just as good if not better and you don't have to wait 45min to be seated (though not as well located). T

yeh and some journo on metro now likes el faro too... better late than never I suppose, probably discovered it by lurking around on this forum. It is a long way out though which is a shame. I'd like to go again but it would mean driving and thus not drinking. Can't do that.

S

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Why all the grousing about location? I live in Richmond and I've managed to make it out to El Faro 4 times in the past 2 months.

I would not compare it to even basic places in Spain (I'm sorry, but cochinillo and lechazo aren't worthy of the name unless there is a wood oven involved), but it is certainly great for London.

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  • 4 months later...

Good meal here last night. I'd have liked the charcuterie to be a little thicker and hand carved but no great loss. Reasonable croquetas, which in the London scheme of things ranks them pretty highly. Spinach Raviolis with cabrales sauce had good flavour without the cheese becoming too overbearing, on the other hand Gambas Al Ajillo could, IMO, have done with more garlic, the prawns themselves were good. A bowl of Padron peppers and a plate of Chorizo cooked in cider rounded off the starters, the sauce heavily reduced and sweet.

A main course of suckling pig was good, apparently fresh pig, not frozen, cooked well, crispy on the outside melting in the middle and suitably fatty, the way it should be. Solomillo de buey had good flavour nd a nice charred exterior but was a little tough though this might be expected, I believe it was using Ox, as was the entrecote enjoyed by another in our group. The Iberico pork was a little disappointing and lacking in flavour. A shared plate of Patatas bravas was merely OK, I don't know if I've ever had a plate, even in Spain, that ever leads me to believe that they can be anything more than an average accompaniment.

A cheesecake dessert was unfortunately marred by pieces of gelatine.

Overall a decent meal and despite its tucked away location I'll happily be back again!

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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Why all the grousing about location? I live in Richmond and I've managed to make it out to El Faro 4 times in the past 2 months.

well el bulli for you, but you can't argue that its an ideal location unless you live in one of those curious flats in the area. I'd go a lot more if it was more central.

S

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