'Tapas with a twist', cocktails and a rotation of resident DJs.
We thought the speakeasy trend was over. We thought we’d never have to recite another password, knock three times on another nondescript door or step through another unlikely domestic appliance just to get a drink. But there we were on Kingsland Road on Saturday night, walking up to a funny-looking phone box and dialling ‘2-5-8-0’ in the hope of a decent cocktail on the other side.
La Cabina has a gimmick. A couple, actually. ‘From Sevilla to Shoreditch’ is the tagline, and the tiny underground space with exposed bricks and vintage woodwork is half shabby-chic Barcelona bodega, half hip London dive bar. The short list of cocktails channels classic Spanish combinations like Serrano ham and melon or gazpacho soup. Mostly served long at £8 a pop, they’re inventive in theory but pretty bland in practice.
Javier Vincente (from The Little Taperia in Tooting) is responsible for the menu: a shotgun wedding of staple tapas and big British flavours. Marinated olives, cold charcutería and sweet and salty roasted octopus share the board with haggis scotch eggs: too rich to eat on your own but almost too good to share. The off-menu veggie option was sad and soggy and the ‘chutney’ on the cheeseboard tasted suspiciously like Branston pickle, but thin and crispy churros with fluffy insides sweetened the deal.
So: average cocktails, inconsistent food. And yet La Cabina is still worth a visit for one thing: its (very) late licence. Despite the hype for tapas at 5am, there’s a limited menu after 11. But do roll in for a bite at ten, stick around for the DJ, sink a few bottles of Sagres and chat or canoodle in a cosy booth till way past bedtime. The best (and most ironic) part: you probably won’t get a phone signal down there.
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232 Kingsland Rd
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Average User Rating
3.3 / 5
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What a treat, walked in on a friday night, left saturday morning, promised to do a review, here it is:
Came in and all the tables were booked, luckily was able to sit down with my friends as someone didn't show up, once seated and started with shots and water, everything went smoothly. We had the roasted octopus, grilled mackarel, shared the iberican ham and the best portobello mushrooms I've tried in London. Acccompanied by cocktails that had fresh melon and fresh pineapple mixed with delicious rum and served with parma ham, also a great one I tried was their twist on an Old-Fashioned, All I remember were amazing flavours. Nonetheless, as the vibe continued and picked up, I noticed I was dancing with my friends until the lights went on and then it was 5am. A great, great night, huge shout to all the staff at La Cabina, for the delicious cocktails and scrumptious tapas, cheers to wandering into a hidden retreat that is very hard to forget, and always a treat to remember.
Bar staff are utterly useless, ordered my drinks three times and was still left waiting and gave up in the end. The heating turned on full blast in a lame attempt to make you get more drinks too, would be fine if they actually served you! The customer next to me had their drink spilt three times before it was served. Baffling to think that three bar staff couldn't handle 30 people in the venue! Maybe they were too preoccupied with pleasing the steroid-fuelled block heads at the back sniffing coke.