A moodily lit Spanish restaurant in Borough Market.
Borough Market is hardly lacking in decent places to eat, but it’s also never been too rock ’n’ roll in the way that Soho or parts of east London are. The new Spanish restaurant Lobos – a moodily lit lair with a banging soundtrack – gives it some edge.
The dining room creates a sense of anticipation: Steppenwolf’s ‘Born to Be Wild’ blares from the speakers, and there’s a ground-floor bar serving sherry, cava, cocktails and wines from the decent all-Spanish list. Upstairs the main dining area is a narrow, dimly lit tunnel with intimate cubbies for couples, bare filament bulbs sticking out of the walls, and trains rumbling overhead. It seems fitting for a restaurant whose name translates as ‘wolves’.
The menu makes much of how the chefs use their instinct and acute senses to create dishes. Sadly, the plates we tried didn’t dazzle. A mini-tortilla, snug in its cast-iron frying pan, was far too dry. Migas – a simple Spanish recipe for leftover bread, served with morsels of bacon or chorizo and a fried egg – arrived slightly congealed and chewy rather than crisp. Presa ibérica – a shoulder cut of the Spanish pig that’s taking London by storm – was served sliced and disconcertingly rare, and bore none of the scars or flavour of the grill. We wished we’d plumped for the rib-eye steak with pan-fried foie gras, or perhaps the leg of Castilian milk-fed lamb, because fellow diners seemed perfectly content.
‘The wolf will always be evil if we only listen to Little Red Riding Hood’ reads a slogan at the entrance. This is a Spanish way of saying there are two sides to every story. Maybe that’s true at Lobos – go try it, and make up your own mind.
The cavernous interior is a meld of corrugated steel and reclaimed wood with a bar on the ground level and an open-plan kitchen on the first level. The intimate dining booths are fitted with leather chesterfield backrests. With Edison pendant lights bathing an orange hue throughout the restaurant and a gentle rattle and clinking of the trains above, LOBOS retains much of the grit of the old Borough Market.
Staying true to the local market’s blood, LOBOS’ British meat comes from the famed supplier Ginger Pig, while its Iberico is flown from Sierra de Montánchez, Spain: no expense is spared in food quality.
As the name LOBOS (which means wolves) would suggest, meat dominates the Spanish menu here and the Iberico Pork Selection here is every carnivore’s wildest dream: beautifully marbled secreto, fork tender presa and a perfectly cooked pork fillet accompanied by Catalan-style trinxat and homemade crisps.
|Venue name:||Lobos Meat & Tapas London Bridge||Contact:|
14 Borough High St
|Opening hours:||Daily noon-3.30pm, 5.30-11pm|
|Transport:||Tube: London Bridge|
|Price:||Meal for two with drinks and service: around £60.|
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