The Iberification of Fitzrovia continues with this tapas and sherry spot from the people behind nearby Barrica and Soho’s Copita. As with its siblings, Drakes Tabanco looks and feels properly Andalusian. A tabanco is a sherry and tapas bar typical of Jerez, the capital of Andalusia and the centre of the sherry trade – in fact, tabancos are so traditional that Cervantes wrote a poem about them. After a few copitas in this dark-beamed, white-walled space, you could easily believe you’re in southern Spain.
Drakes isn’t a carbon copy of its siblings. The wine list isn’t as ambitious, with just three reds, three whites, a cava and a rosado (our picks are the white Godello from Valdesil and the red Mencía from Flor de Brezo, both in north-west Spain). Drakes’s USP is sherry ‘en rama’ – from the barrel, as it’s served in Jerez. The seven sherries (all from the well-regarded producer Fernando de Castilla) run the gamut from ultra-dry fino to an extra-old, super-sweet Pedro Ximénez (PX). The rare palo cortado, with its savoury, saline edge, and the rich, nutty, dry oloroso are mind-blowingly intense.
Charcuterie figures large on the list of tapas. We enjoyed rich goose rillettes, bresaola with celeriac rémoulade and cured Ibérico pork tongue (less common than jamón, but no less delectable), as well as thinly sliced smoked scallop with avocado purée, and broccoli with a tangy romesco sauce. Less successful was a limp salad of baby gem lettuce. Larger plates such as braised pig cheeks with oloroso and mashed potato are hearty and wine-friendly. Sherry also figures large in such typically Jerezano desserts as vanilla ice-cream with Malaga raisins and PX sherry. Cervantes would approve.