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Half price oysters - before 7pm Monday-Friday... we'll see you soon!
- Escocesa

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

'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.

Written by
Laura Lee Davies
Escocesa says
span: escocesa eng: scottish (feminine)

For your those of you interested in such things, here’s the story of how this restaurant came about.15 years ago in my previous life as a record producer, ( ) I was sitting in a rented mid-century house in the Hollywood Hills, writing and producing a record for an aspiring artist, when I came across an article in the Guardian. The article detailed how all the best Scottish seafood would leave Scotland headed for Spain, as there was no domestic market for the more esoteric or indeed expensive catches. Now I don’t know if it was the fact that I was reading this one morning in the Californian sunshine over coffee, that perhaps fuelled a little nostalgia and a yearning for the bonnie bonnie banks. It certainly evoked memories of my parents driving me, my brother and sister from Glasgow to Palamos in Catalunya in 1974, and our subsequent yearly pilgramages.Whatever………….. that article stayed with me.

Fast forward 15 years, I’ve had enough of the music business, and developed a high level dependency on sherry. I opened my first restaurant Bar Esteban in 2013 with Pablo Rodriguez from Barcelona and Naroa Ortega from Bilbao.


67 Stoke Newington Church St
N16 0AR
Stoke Newington rail
Opening hours:
Mon 6pm-10pm; Tues 6pm-10pm; Wed 6pm-10pm; Thurs 6pm-10pm; Fri 5pm-11pm; Sat 12pm-3.30pm & 5pm-11pm; Sun 12pm-3.30pm & 5pm-9.30pm
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