It’s not often a restaurant that has offered a reliably similar experience year on year suddenly develops the ability to surprise, but Number 22 has done just that. It’s much the same in looks: a narrow corridor of a restaurant with dark wood furnishings, olive green walls and contemporary art on display. There’s also a walled patio in the back with boldly painted walls, which is ideal for a leisurely glass of Alhambra. What’s different is the food: it has always been good but not necessarily so good that it became memorable.
This time, each dish hit the mark impeccably. Breaded baby squid was crisp on the outside yet cooked to perfection with a smooth morcilla stuffing; fried rounds of aubergine avoided the trap of becoming greasy and were well seasoned and moreish; tender strips of just-pink duck breast were complemented by a light, sweet quince sauce; crisp pork belly on a smooth pear purée with plump, juicy raisins made for a satisfying combination of salty and sweet.
The space is small and the atmosphere intimate, with low lighting and flickering candlelight in the evening, yet it comfortably houses couples and groups in a convivial atmosphere.