Monday 11 January 2016


Preconceptions are funny things.  I have to admit having three of them, about Hispania, that were held before last week’s visit:

  1. I had never noticed it being there, despite it being open now for over two years and passing by it relatively (although not very) regularly.
  2. Even if I had noticed it, I’m not sure I would have gone.  Another fancy Spanish restaurant in the middle of the City full of dreadful bankers and serving overpriced food? Hmmm. 
  3. Also, some of the reviews have not been great (Time Out: 2 stars…)

Anyway, turns out preconceptions are a crock of shite, because Hispania is really rather good.
There was a group of us searching for a meal.  One chap suggested tapas at Hispania, despite him being strictly averse to sharing food, but he’d had a colleague go there who enjoyed himself.  Everyone agreed.

Have you ever tried ordering tapas amongst a large group of people?  Well don’t.  Even when you tell people to choose two dishes there is so much chit chat and wasted time and then you end up with a dozen bowls of patatas bravas and a platter of cured meats.  Best do what we did: Order the lot.  Literally, we ordered one of everything on their tapas list plus a platter of mixed meats and another of mixed cheeses.

Quick (photo-less, sorry) word about the wine.  Matthew, our resident wine expert and who has sold Hispania wine before, chose two bottles of red – one lighter and one heavier.  The heavier wine was Lucero del Alba, a Tempranillo (£30).  Dark, tannic and chewy, with t scent of burnt toast.  It was a food wine – and a rich, red meat kind of food wine at that.  Very good though – just my sort of thing.  The lighter wine was the Lágrimas de Garnacha (£26).  This was stunning – just amazing.  It was, again, quite punchy and spicy but with an immediate sweet note as well.  There was toffee as well, together with a hint of horseradish and also – and stay with me here – the flavour of burnt fat you get around a steak that’s been barbequed over charcoal.  Fantastic.

Now onto the food.

First out were the cold dishes.  Cured meat selection.  Top to bottom: Jamón Ibérico, lomo (loin), salchichón and chorizo.  Great stuff, top quality.  There’s not much more to say, I suppose, but I do love Spanish meats.

Crujientes de quesos:  toffee-coated crispy, wafer thin pastry stuffed with creamed cheese.

Initially, these were poo-pooed by the group, who did not like the sound of the dish.  OK, I get why some people might not be so keen – although a seasoned ‘salt-and-sweet’ grubster like myself had no truck with such objections.  These were great – in fact, it was the biggest opponent who ate the spare sample.

Spanish cheese selection.  Manchego (top, yellow triangles), Ibores (left, sticks with orange rind), Cabra Montenebro (right, grey rind, interspersed with membrillo (quince paste)) and Mahón (bottom, triangles with orange rind).

Again, all first rate and very delicious.  The standout favourite was the Cabra, a goat’s cheese – which is funny because I’m not that into goat that often.  This was delicious, however, and the membrillo worked with it like a treat.

Now for some fishy things.  Starting with monkfish.

Monkfish is a brilliant fish, in my humble opinion, probably because it’s so meaty.  Just excellent (even though it costs a fortune) and here was no exception.  Lightly battered and fried, they fish was cooked properly.  I also absolutely bloody love piquillo peppers.  I will never forget the first time I tasted one any being physically knocked back by the intensity of their flavour.  How, I remember thinking and still wonder each time I eat one, does that much pepper-taste get in to such a small amount of vegetable.  So two of my favourite things.  What’s the catch?  Simple: they just don’t go together.  I’m not sure who paired these or why, but whilst each constituent element is wonderful, the finished article just falls a little flat.


Bloody love calamari and these were bloody good examples.  With a squeeze of lime (not lemon, peculiarly) and a touch of lime zest this was a simple but delicious tapa.  It’s also worth noting that the squid was evidently fresh and cooked properly – soft and light, not hard and rubbery.  “Kentucky Fried Squid” said one diner (cruel but accurate – except, I might add, with significantly higher quality) whilst another diner passionately sworn off squid wolfed down a portion.  Happy days.

Gambas al ajillo.

Or, prawns in a spicy, garlicky sauce.  Very classic.

Onwards and upwards: Now we hit the ‘hot food’ section (notwithstanding that the fish was hot – it was meant to be a sort of starter-fish-mains experience – I think?).

Croquets, which came in two forms:

1. Croquetas de jamón.

Very nice.  Large enough to get a proper portion but not so large that they are difficult to eat.  Very tasty too.

2. Croquetas ‘Hay Festival’.

I am sure there is a back story to these, other than “created specially for the famous literary festival” that the menu proclaims.  I would like to know the back story because otherwise I cannot work out how (a) they are especially (that’s the correct word, btw) suited for the Hay Festival and (b) it was ever thought that substituting jamón with leeks would be an improvement.  Unless, of course, the chef at Hispania hates the Hay Festival / bookworms in general and wanted to serve an inferior croquet.  To be fair, there’s nothing wrong with this, it’s more a case that there’s nothing right with it either.  It’s just that I can’t help feeling that, on the choice of croquet with ham and croquet with leeks, the sane person would (and should) always choose the former.

And the ubiquitous Spanish tortilla.

Now, I actually tried to talk the table out of ordering this because I’m no fan of omelettes and most forms of potato (yes it’s weird, no it doesn’t preclude me writing a food blog, and I’ve written about this in more detail elsewhere).  But I was overruled by the resident vegetarian and, given that we were having all sorts of other meat, I reckoned I should let her have her way.  It was actually pretty spectacular.  Rather than being, as is customary, a big, stodgy cakey of eggy potato, it was crisp on the outside whilst still being beautifully light and underdone inside.  This was actually a revelation.

Together with some padron peppers.  Not much to say about these.  They are nice.  They always are.  Five years ago you couldn’t find them in London for love or money, now you can’t go to a Spanish restaurant without having them virtually thrown at you.

Morcilla duo.  If you’re not familiar with morcilla, it is what is known as a ‘blood sausage’, or black pudding, in plain English.  Although, it’s not really like a black pudding.  It tends to be softer, more moist, and has lumps of fat or sometimes rice where the English version has oats.  But you get the idea.

These two were onion and rice.  Both excellent, and very moreish – although the differences (other than in texture) were not immediately obvious.

A short break then followed before we were presented with what had to be the finale – the potato course (or so it seemed).

Huevos rotos de corral – or ham, egg and chips as it is known over here.

We are well and truly into hangover food territory now.  To tell the truth, when I saw this on the menu I knew I recognised it from somewhere – and assumed I liked it. Then it came back to me – my first visit to Tapas 24 in Barcelona (the very best tapas restaurant I have ever been to) and one of my earliest Grubster posts.  And when it came back to me I remembered: this is not a dish I enjoy.  Not then, not now.  Again, it’s more of a case of what’s right than what’s wrong.  This is a grease fest – Spain’s answer to Canada’s poutine or Britain’s chips and gravy.  You can try all you like, it’s not sophisticated, it’s not clever and it doesn’t belong in an upscale tapas joint like Hispania.  You can try all you like, but just no.

And then, of course, patas bravas.

I mean…  Really, let’s cut to the chase.  If you like this sort of thing then you’ll like this version – very nicely done, with a fancy romesco sauce that’s full of flavour.  I personally find it hard to get excited, but the others seemed to enjoy it.

Greg, the man with the plan who suggested the place, had earlier confessed to me is worries regarding the cost.  I don’t wholly blame him – it looks from the outside (and within, with its epically tall ceilings, marble floors and wide, sparsely tabled spaces – it’s actually a very pleasant atmosphere) like it will be expensive.  When the bill came we were pleasantly surprised.  All that food (12 tapas plates and two platters) and drink (half a bottle of wine each in the end) came to about £36 a head.  Not bad – for the City.

Someone remarked that it somehow didn’t feel like authentic, Spanish tapas.  No kidding.  It wasn’t – it was high end tapas, done in a fancy, marble lined dining room.  There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s simply that you’re looking at a different beast.  And a very fine beast, in this case.


  1. We are offering High Class educated & attractive call girls service in Connaught place. Contact me for booking any time anywhere in Connaught place our incall and outcall both facility available in Delhi NCR. High class independent escort girl in Connaught place, mature escort girl in Connaught place, russian call girl and Indian high profile house wife available 24x7. Connaught Place Escorts|Escorts in Connaught Place | Escorts Service in Connaught Place | Independent Escorts in Connaught Place | Female Escorts in Connaught Place |

  2. Gurgaon Divas Escorts Services- Aruna roy offers female independent escort service in Gurgaon to fulfill all your sensual desires. amazing Gurgaon escorts services who is always ready for you at your doorstep. Gurgaon escorts girls always been provide only the finest escort from around Gurgaon.We offer personal touch, using our elite escorts service. Gurgaon Escorts |Escorts in Gurgaon|Escorts Service in Gurgaon| Female Escorts in Gurgaon|Independent Escorts Service in Gurgaon|

  3. Quality moments that you can spend with broad-minded Call Girls in Pune escorts are amazing. These beauties are well-known for serving their unique companionship and ready to offer you their 100% satisfactory service. Hire the sensational call girls in Pune and make love with them like never before. The warmth of their body is going to arouse your sensuous desires and offer your erotic feelings.

    Pune escorts | Pune escorts | Pune escorts | Pune escorts Services | Pune Independent escorts | Pune escorts | Pune escorts | escorts in Pune | Pune escorts


  4. Love all the tips Thank you for sharing them! I hope you will continue to have similar posts to share with everyone.
    Pune Escorts

  5. Long-term services are available if around City you don't have to be alone. Our females take business trips, have one-night stand and weekend get a way. Discounts and special offers for loyal clients on certain services. The girls spicy up by making the rooms cozy and romantic. You find lit candles, warm rooms, sweet music and sexy beautiful girl's waiting just for you. Just contact Annu of Bathinda.or Call us @ +91 9996873966

    Bathinda escort
    Bathinda escort service
    Bathinda call girls
    Call girls in Bathinda
    Bathinda russian escorts
    Russian escorts in Bathinda
    Escorts in Bathinda
    Escorts service in Bathinda
    Bathinda escorts
    Bathinda escorts service

  6. They work freely and just love to be with exquisite and kind respectable men. Simply check and experience what our intense girls had prepared for you: each of them has something superb and selective! Since they are neighborhood escorts as well as intriguing autonomous marvels who came here to wander, appreciate and to carry on with their life in their own specific manner Gurgaon Escorts Agency
    Gurgaon Escorts Service
    Indipendent Female Escorts in Gurgaon
    Gurgaon Call Girls
    Gurgaon Escorts
    Escorts Service in Gurgaon
    Aerocity Escorts
    Gurgaon Escorts
    Connaught place Escorts
    Gurgaon Escorts Service
    Escorts in Connaught place
    Escorts Service in Gurgaon
    Escorts in Aerocity
    Gurgaon Cheap Female Escorts
    Escorts in Lajpat Nagar
    Indian Escorts Service
    High Escorts Profil in Chanakyapuri
    Delhi college girls in Escorts
    Air hostess Escorts in Delhi

  7. thanks for sharing your Great post To with us. Jaipur Escorts

  8. The girls here with us would never call you once your booking is over. This is one of the reasons why we here at the house ofEscorts Service in Vasant Kunj have earned ourselves a great reputation and a goodwill that is surely unmatchable. Check our other Services...
    Escorts Service in Vasant Kunj
    Escorts Service in Vasant Kunj
    Escorts Service in Vasant Kunj
    Escorts Service in Vasant Kunj
    Russian Call Girls in Connaught Place
    Russian Escorts in Connaught Place

  9. Hello Friends, I am Allia a High Profile Hot Pune Escorts. I am only 23 and living in Pune. If you are looking Hot Pune Escorts in your bed then visit my website today and booking.I am availbale 24/7.

    Pune Escort
    Escorts Pune
    Pune Escorts Service
    Escorts in Pune
    Escort Services in Pune
    Call Girls in Pune

  10. I read a lot of stuff and i found that the way of writing to clearifing that exactly want to say was very good so i am impressed and ilike to come again in future..escorte

  11. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commentators here!Escorte Constanta

  12. Coupon2deal, one of the most reliable interfaces that offer various deals and discount coupons.
    Vistaprint Coupons
    Ace Hardware Coupon
    Dollar General Coupons

  13. While you drive your luxury car inReal Call Girls Photo in Kolkata, there is always a girl eyeing you from a café for a long drive.Bengali Call Girls in Lucknow If you are at a fine dining restaurant, there is always a Punjabi Call Girls in Agra looking for you to join you on your table.Foreigner Call Girls in Ajmer If you are at a shopping mall, there is always a girl looking at you to buy her favorite dress or perfume etc. Foreigner Call Girls in Ajmer We call them outgoing and Faridabad Housewife Escorts agency open minded girls who come from good backgrounds but desire to be with rich gentlemen like you.

  14. You completed certain reliable points there. I did research on the subject and found nearly all persons will agree with your blog. Do well to check my post on good evening message for big sister 

  15. Completing the setup of your Spectrum Router requires you to keep certain things handy. These include the Spectrum Router IP Address, the username, and the router password. If you didn’t change them, you can locate the default router login information at the back or bottom of the router as well as in the user manual that comes along with the router.

  16. To improve the internal health of your company we offer the best Employer Branding Services. Having good experience we also known as the best employer branding agency

  17. I really enjoyed your article. I bookmarked your website. . Kenyaevisa or electronic visa Kenya is a travel permit, which the government of Kenya grants to foreigners wishing to visit Kenya.