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Restaurants, Spanish Soho
3 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
(1user review)

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

A colourful, affordable tapas restaurant on Dean Street.

Opening a tapas restaurant on the same street as Barrafina is pretty much the food world equivalent of trying to sell crack on a kingpin dealer’s corner. It’s dangerously ballsy, but Rambla clearly has big cojones: it’s moved in, whacked on a fun Eurotrash playlist and started dishing out croquetas like there’s no tomorrow.

Painted a retro shade of baby blue outside, the space itself is laidback and lovely. There’s a natty tiled bar for counter dining and lots of Mediterranean staff moving about at a comfortably Mediterranean pace.

The food, though? Hit and miss. A dish of tender octopus had a warm charcoal depth, while spinach croquetas were both wonderfully golden on the outside and creamy within. But everything else disappointed. The ceviche was too salty, the ‘butifarra negra’ (Iberian black sausage) sliders almost inedibly so.

Also, on my visit, Rambla didn’t seem to have its extractor fan sorted – lunch started off atmospherically smoky, but by the time it was in full swing it was mildly suffocating. A shame, as Rambla’s Catalan-inspired tapas is the cheapest you’ll find on Dean Street, and its chutzpah and colour is endearing. Go, but stick to croquetas, octopus and booze.


Address: 64 Dean Street
Transport: Tube: Leicester Square
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £85.
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Users say (1)

5 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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Catalan cuisine takes front and centre stage here at the place named after the leafy, bustling boulevard in Barcelona where chef Victor Garvey grew up. I’ve never been the world’s greatest fan of tapas – too many rubbery rings of calamari and over-cooked potatoes floundering in smeary tomato puddles – but Rambla thankfully offers neither of those things. Eating at the bar has rapidly became my favourite way of dining; there’s something delightfully yet effortless cool about sitting across from the chefs and watching a parade of dishes strut past and my tip for menu selection here? Go with friends, order one of everything, thank me later. 

Snacking whilst selecting has always made sense to me and Pan con Tomate arrives thickly spread and nicely straddling the line between squishy and chewy while Blistered Padron Peppers are softly charred & heavily crunchy with sea salt. Spinach Croquetas are a dream, bursting at the golden crumbed edge with deeply comforting potato, sweet leafy greens and enough garlic to clear the set of Buffy.

A Baby Raf Tomato & Fennel Salad is crisp and refreshing, perfectly paving the way for my favourite plate of the night, Butifarra Negre Sliders with green apple slaw, nevat cheese and toasted brioche buns. Crunchy coated and succulent, the one-two punch of umami flavour and tender meat makes them a heavyweight champion on the sliders scenery of London.

Giving time to breathe, the Sea Bass a la Plancha was flaky and delicate under a crisp skin that falls apart with ease and Grilled Octopus arrived grilled, blushing & meaty, wonderfully tender and sitting squatly on a pool of beautifully balanced garlic & tarragon aioli that I could have eaten by the spoonful. Braised Oxtail Canelones rounded things off in the most gratifying way, all soft folds of pasta, juicy pieces of meat and lashings of melted nevat, a goats’ cheese I’m keen to build a lasting relationship with this year.

There’s so much to love here in Garvey’s tribute to the food of his childhood – well thought out and obviously coming from the heart, it feels both modern and nostalgic. There are small plates & ingredient pairings here that I’ve not seen before that absolutely made me want more and in a city where you’re already planning your next meal before the current one is finished, that’s saying something rather special indeed.

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