I’m not in a habit of being happy to benefit from someone else’s misfortune, however our editor’s battle with a glass table meant he was unable to do this week’s restaurant review, resulting in an unexpected Monday night out for me!
It was also a distraction from the tension of waiting for the Royal baby’s birth – I had £1 on a girl called Alexandra in the office sweepstake!
Our destination was La Banca in Vicar Street, which is now under new management. A tapas menu is perfect for me as I can never make up my mind what to have!
We started with Pan De Barra (gorgeous crusty bread, served with oil and alioli) and the selection of Spanish meats and cheeses. These were beautifully presented on a board with green and black olives – handily I only like black olives and Brian only likes green, perfect! Brian commented on how well these starters complimented each other.
For our main course, Brian chose two dishes – Pincho Moruno, a kebab with fillet steak and mushrooms, and the Plato de Marisco Mixta, a selection of scallops, mussels, squid and king prawns. I then got free rein to choose the other dishes. So, we went for the croquettas de pollo con chorizo (chicken and chorizo croquettes), chorizo frito al vino tinto (another chorizo dish, this time cooked in red wine), Gambas Gabardina (King Prawns in batter), tortilla Espanola and the chicken and chorizo paella.
Any thoughts you might have of tapas being just a snack or not filling enough, please banish them now.
The menu suggests choosing three or four dishes each, and we chose seven between us, but we couldn’t manage it all – the portion sizes are very generous!
The prawns were deliciously crunchy, and the steak kebab was gorgeous. The chorizo in red wine had a fabulously spicy kick, and the chicken in the paella just melted in your mouth,
Despite being absolutely stuffed, we managed to share a pineapple sorbet for dessert, which came served in a pineapple shell, a lovely touch.
As well as the varied food menu, there is also an extensive cocktails list and, despite it being Monday night, I couldn’t resist trying a fabulous Raspberry Mojito!
In fact the only disappointment of the evening was discovering that the Royal baby was a boy – no future wife for my boys after all – and I lost the bet too!
Thankfully, I had my lovely cocktail to help soothe my pain – the perfect way to toast the birth of a future King!