Great Spanish in the City
Category : Restaurant
| Cuisine : Spanish
Address : Saint Katherine Docks, East Smithfield, The City, London, E1W 1AT, UNITED KINGDOM - Directions
Web : www.bravastapas.co.uk/
Opening Times : Mon-Sat 12am-10.30pm; Sun 12am-10pm
Closest Tube : Tower Hill
St Katharine Docks has always been one of those sites of resounding urban beauty squandered on the likes of Starbucks, Strada and every other indentikit rollout marring its comely quays. However, it appears that the Docks are finally prepared for change, and that catalyst just might be Bravas Tapas, which is not only contending to be the first viable restaurant on the Docks, but also the first viable Spanish restaurant in the City. Spearheaded by restaurateur Bal Thind, the original investor in Hakkasan, Yauatcha and Busaba, who has championed the talents of Catalonian/NYC chef Victor Garvey, Bravas Tapas juxtaposes Med rusticity with high-concept gastronomy.
The room resembles the well-worn bottegas of Spain and Portugal, with rough-shod reclaimed furniture handsomely finished, a reclaimed sherry bar first put to work in the 19th Century, and a candlelit ambience instilling the Docklands with an Iberian romance. The first introduction to said gastronomy was an explosive amuse bouche. Diners are presented with a beige sphere and instructed not to bite into it prior to enclosing the entire thing in their mouth (insert bad joke here). It turns out that it's gazpacho encased within an olive oil truffle. That subversion of expectations really set the stage for what was to follow. The small plates were all very reasonably priced, although, well, small. There were a number of playful touches throughout. Most notably, marinated Cantabrian anchovies were served from an upcycled sardine tin and a dessert of fresh macerated strawberries with candied rosemary, white chocolate and a gelatinous cava were served in an upended (but flat-bottomed) wine glass. Diners are also invited to eschew traditional cutlery in favour of pinzas, a kind of outsized tweezers popular in the Basque Region. However, we eschewed these in favour for our fingers when eating morcilla sliders with Idiazabal cheese and green apple slaw as well as the Moorish spiced lamb chops with bones serving as the perfect handle. With this summer promised to be the hottest on record, those too busy to book a trip South will be catered for at Bravas, with a rhythm and cadence that will get your tastebuds dancing flamenco.