Restaurants, Spanish Stoke Newington
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Venue says Our chefs visited the best arrocerias of Valencia to uncover the secrets of great paella. Available for lunch at the weekend. Muy buena.

'Escocesa’ is Spanish for ‘Scottish’ – a clue to the set-up at this new Stoke Newington tapas bar. It’s the second restaurant opened by Ayrshire-born, ex-record producer Stephen Lironi. (Crouch End’s Bar Esteban was his first.)

For this more sleekly decorated but equally laidback N16 gaff, he’s stuck with executive head chef Pablo Rodriguez (who trained at Jean Luc Figueras in Catalunya, then Barrafina and Moro/Morito here in London), and Bilbao-born manager Naroa Ortega.

Church Street is roughly a third of the way from Sauchiehall Street to La Rambla, and Escocesa is clearly two-thirds Spanish. Menu staples include juicy pan con tomate, piquant patatas bravas and tortilla that yields easily under the fork. The fried baby squid is crisp not greasy.

Still, the Calendonian accent is strong, with Scottish seafood among the specials: scallops from Ullapool, langoustines from Lochinver. Highlights like these (and a borderline-obsessive sherry list) show Escocesa’s serious passion for good sourcing. This is the kind of London local that believes quality isn’t just for la-di-dah Zone One restaurantland.

On a rainy midweek evening, Escocesa was already buzzing by 7.30pm. Still, when the waitress realised she’d given me a table for four and the booking was for two, she insisted I stay put, and didn’t hover impatiently while my friend’s bus crawled up from Essex Road.

There is no wild experimentation here, but the flavours work. Flaky salt cod came with succulent beetroot and orange slices, and tangy manchego on a delicately sweet fig salad. Admittedly, the fried aubergine was a little too chewy, but the crema catalana dessert was light and refreshing.

Stoke Newington has its old favourites, like Rasa, and its fashionable, superior pizza and burger joints, but the Good Egg and Escocesa are upping the game, the noo.

By: Laura Lee Davies


Venue name: Escocesa
Address: 67 Stoke Newington Church St
Transport: Stoke Newington rail
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Average User Rating

4.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:8
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:1
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Katie B

Amazing tapas and seafood in incredible atmosphere. A bar seat is the best table in Stokey for food and people watching.

Matthew B

just the most amazing food and when you ask which wine will go well what you have ordered, the wine really does go well with, and not expensive.
i can not recommend it enough.

Heather N

Fantastic food (particularly the seafood), great wine list and fab atmosphere. If you are only a party of two, sitting up at the bar is the best bet.

Sian D

Amazing tapas, carafes of wine, sit at the bar and watch chefs at work or at table in back. Never disappointed. Must tries: octopus, crispy chickpeas, manchego and quince salad and Catalan tart

Jennifer S

The space is quite nice to start off: dark and light wood, neon signs and candlelit tables create a cosy, buzzing atmosphere. The staff is smiley and very accommodating. However, it's quite LOUD so make sure your food companion is speaking loudly as I had to ask my friend to speak up several times. I got the figs and manchego salad for £6.5 and the fried aubergines with walnuts and sugar-cane honey for £4.5. The first was pretty bland- I've had much sharper manchego in Spain- and the second dish sounded amazing but was... ok as well. The first bite or two was delicious. The aubergine had a lovely slightly crispy texture. But then the flavour faded so ended up pretty middling by the end. You get about 5-7 slices of aubergine so a good amount for a tapa portion. My companion got the tortilla and prawns with aioli. She liked the tortilla but we agreed the prawns were ok. We also got a carafe of the cheapest red wine for £11 and it was fine. However, I think £11 is kind of steep for how small the carafe was!