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Don’t order the meatballs!’ our waiter advised when handing us the menu at this latest addition to Stroud Green. ‘They’re not perfect yet – the chef didn’t put any onions into tonight’s albóndigas.’ Fortunately, the extensive tapas menu, divided into traditional and ‘Fabrica Tapas’, offers more than 20 alternatives – all playing with classic Spanish flavours without going too crazy.
Deep-fried aubergine fingers came drizzled with sugar-cane honey – a speciality from the Canaries which added a deep molasses dimension to these excellent fritters. A meaty octopus tentacle was grilled to smoky perfection and served with a spicy mojo picón, a garlicky red pepper sauce and another Canarian classic.
But some dishes disappointed: scallops, served with ham and pea purée, were penny-sized and tasted fishy; likewise, the patatas bravas were not crisp and lacked salt. Still, intrigued by these forbidden, onion-less meatballs, we ordered a portion. Despite the missing ingredient, they tasted perfectly good: finely minced beef and pork formed into four golfball-sized albóndigas, tucked into a creamy, almond-specked sauce. Alliums aside, La Fabrica’s chef seems to know his onions, and has the balls to do something different.
La Fabrica’s main charm lies in its rustic interior – wood-panelled walls, industrial metal lampshades, mix-and-match patchwork tiles on the floor. It’s the kind of design-first place that’s been popping up all over town, but is still exciting in this slowly gentrifying area near Finsbury Park.
5 Stroud Green Road
|Transport:||Tube: Finsbury Park|
|Price:||Meal for two with drinks and service: £60.|
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