Located on a plain north London thoroughfare, this place is intimate, friendly and really rather unusual. There’s no menu: you’ll be asked about any dietary restrictions when booking; after that, your meal is in the hands of chef Steve Marrish. For once, over-used terms like seasonality, freshness and creativity genuinely matter here. Dishes are tapa-sized (with around seven in a meal for two), but the cooking takes in North African as well as Spanish influences.
Openers such as high-quality olives with piquillo peppers were followed by mackerel fillets with rhubarb, mint and vanilla-infused olive oil – a combination we’d never have imagined, but which worked brilliantly. Even simple dishes are made special by the sheer quality of the ingredients. The tapas got progressively larger, up to lamb meatballs with lovely Moroccan touches of cumin and mint yoghurt, and succulent grilled prawns in a wine, garlic and chilli broth. From the dessert menu, we couldn’t pass on the superb pomegranate ice-cream.
There’s no set price, which some may find unsettling, but the chef’s menu of the day usually works out at around £30 per head. A sophisticated, mostly Iberian wine list includes a superior sherry range. One to discover.