Dehesa is in an area so artificially funky that you fear for its soul. No need. Once you’ve elbowed your way through the Ganton Street crowds, you’ll find a venue that’s stylish and pleasant but fully focused on the plate and in the glass.
The back of the menu is a paean to the pig, in Spanish and Italian derivations, offering hams on and off the bone, including an entry-level, acorn-fed jamón ibérico. There are a few cheeses, too, mixing the expected (manchego) with the wider-ranging (torta de barros).
But we found most pleasure in the tapas menu, which pushes genre expectations with such dishes as prettily presented saffron-cured sea trout with spiced aubergine, quails’ eggs and beetroot dressing; and squid with grilled chorizo salad, pickled red onions and guindilla chillies. On the simpler side, a classic tortilla was just the right mix of textures.
The wine list is pricey, with only a couple of bottles under £20. But we’re arguing range not value: our Mallorcan Macia rosé was knowledgeably selected and worth its £28. The comfortable, brown-hued room is dominated by a couple of long tables that you’ll be asked to share – and vacate after two hours, at busy times. Capable, friendly staff generate a congenial enough atmosphere for this not to feel a chore. Alternatively, in good weather you can escape to the pleasant pavement tables.
Salt Yard, arranged over two compact floors in Fitzrovia, is Dehesa’s older sister, offering a similar selection of well-considered Spanish/Italian food and wine. It’s popular with a sophisticated office crowd.