Time Out says
A permanent venue from the Spanish tapas and pintxos street food operation.
Please note, Donostia Social Club has now closed. Time Out Food editors, May 2018.
Walking through the barriers, past the security guards and into Pop, with its pumping music and tribes of selfie-ready twentysomethings, feels so rock ’n’ roll that the restaurants and bars squashed into this collection of shipping containers make those in nearby Brixton Village Market look staid.
Most visitors hop between Pop’s eateries until they’re too full to move on. Such crawls take place nightly in Spain’s gastronomic capital, San Sebastián (known locally as Donostia). Fitting, then, that this Basque-style tapas bar has taken up residence here. Plus, its location on the upper level allows you to enjoy the energy of the crowds below without taking a beer to the face.
Don’t be fooled by its rough-and-ready look: Donostia’s background in street food makes it a slick outfit. Plates of food – the type that make you gesture to your companion with your mouth full – arrive without fanfare. There’s always somebody to refresh your drink, but you’re never made to feel like you’ve outstayed your welcome.
We stayed for a full meal and found food could hold its own in Donostia itself. An Ibérico pork cheek was tender to the point of collapse, its rich gravy counterpointed with a dash of lemon oil. Patatas bravas – usually a filler – was glorious. For dessert, we gobbled up wobbly cubes of battered, honey-drizzled leche frita, a traditional milk-based dessert that’s humble yet divine.
We would have happily stayed and shared a bottle of txakoli (one of many attractions on a keenly priced wine list). Others did come in just for a drink – little did they know how much they were missing.
49 Brixton Station Rd
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