We’d gladly revisit Cigala for its unusual by-the-glass sherries and its heavenly salt cod; our most recent visit also saw a sublimely nubbly almond and medlar tart. Set on a lively street corner, it’s a light, modern sort of place, with big windows, whitewashed walls, and pavement tables on warm days.
On a weekday lunchtime, the room was more than half empty – just a few elderly diners and local businessmen – but the sizzle of oil and sound of Spanish coming from the kitchen were enough to whet our appetites. Cigala’s owner/chef Jake Hodges (also a co-founder of Moro) has scoured Spain for its best dishes and added a little élan of his own. The cooking can be slapdash – our grilled cuttlefish was partly raw – but slip-ups are rare.
A smoky, splendidly macho pork chop was vibrant with lemon and rosemary, and accompanied by crisp, liberally salted fries. Rabbit and pigeon terrine was punchily meaty and came with pickled carrots, a pleasing departure from the Spanish veg-phobic norm. Our León-born waiter took some warming up, but his gruff manner was nothing if not authentic.