In the Old Brompton Road, a new-style take on Spanish tapas where playful inventiveness doesn't get in the way of flavour; Rafael Nadal eats here when in town.
This is tapas – but not as you might know it. Cambio de Tercio is the high-end big brother to two neighbouring Spanish restaurants. Apparently, it’s where Rafael Nadal eats whenever he’s in town, and is best known for its modern take on classic Spanish tapas. Tortilla was an el Bulli homage in a martini glass (potato foam, warm egg yolk, crisp onion shards), and eight-hour roast tomatoes were decorated with a charming vine of micro-leaves and pearls of basil ‘caviar’ that exploded against the deeply candied tomatoes.
Main courses were just as innovative: grilled skate melted into soft burgos morcilla with a playful orange vinaigrette, while dark, tender oxtail came with a light apple sauce and even lighter lemon thyme foam. A ‘cambio de tercio’ is when bullfights take a radical change of direction or move into the next phase. Unfortunately, the final phase of our meal took a less impressive turn, as desserts failed to meet expectations.
Manchego cheesecake sounded interesting, but lacked the punch of aged sheep’s cheese, and the ‘perfume’ of fruit and jasmine was little more than a fancy fruit salad. Otherwise, the food was outstanding – but perhaps order one more tapa and skip dessert.