Brindisa is synonymous with Spanish tapas in London and for good reason. They have been consistently dishing out delicious classic tapas in relaxed and friendly settings. But there are many new contenders clipping on their heels so they will need to keep their eye on the “bull” to maintain their position in the game. The al fresco seating on the wide promenade of the South Kensington branch is an excellent spot to hang-out and people watch on a warm summers day.
This is one of five Brindisa restaurants now strategically located in every corner of London. A great success story since its humble beginnings in Borough Market in 2004. This branch is fresh from a facelift and reopened on 30th July 2020 – making best use of the downtime from the COVID-19 lockdown.
What is the food like?
Delicious selection of classic Spanish tapas plus intriguing extras. You will find popular dishes like prawns in chilli & garlic infused olive oil (gambas al ajillo), potato & onion omelette (tortilla), ham croquettes and fried potatoes in tomato sauce (patatas bravas). Perfect pickings to accompany glasses of wine, cocktails or beers while catching up with friends or family.
How is the drinks selection?
Of course there is sangria, made with either cava or red wine. There is also a healthy selection of cocktails from firm favourites like martini, negroni, brandy sour, old fashioned and margarita. £9.50++ each. Estrella Galicia Lager is available on tap and a couple of other bottle beers/IPAs are also available.
For wine, it is strictly Spanish only. There is a selection of about 10 reds and 6 whites with most also available by the glass. A handful of roses, sparkling wines, sherrys and fortified wines are also available.
What is the place like?
Brindisa is a great place for casual occasions with friends or family. The decor is modern and clean. The white marble top tapas counter and the open kitchen is inviting and relaxed. The large al fresco seating in the middle of Exhibition Road is reminiscent of summer days in Spain (on the occasions when the weather complies in London).
Who are the patrons?
Being a stones-throw away from some of the most popular museums in London, it is a hot spot for tourists from across the globe. In the evenings, the trendy locals recolonise the place to exchange office gossip with colleagues or friends as well as couples sharing more intimate moments on date nights.
How was the service?
Friendly and personal. Staff were attentive and alert. Tap water bottles were refilled without being prompted. Food was delivered in good time after ordering. The bill was followed-up with the credit card machine shortly after.
Is it dog friendly?
Yes, dogs are welcome at the c.60 pax outdoor/ al fresco seating area. Gracie was given a fresh bowl of water on arrival before we even asked.
Decent. The prices are reflective in the quality of the food, service and atmosphere that you would expect at a quality casual dining establishment such as Brindisa.
See below for what my dining companions and I indulged in for this review:
Calamares a la Romana
The star of the day. It was so good that we had to double our order. These are no ordinary fried squid rings or calamari. The batter was so light and the squid was fresh and flavoursome. Perfect with a little dip in the accompanying alioli condiment. £8++
Croquetas de Jamon
Crispy on the outside, rich and flavoursome on the inside. The Iberian ham added a deeper dimension to these perfectly deep fried croquettes. £6++ (for 3 pieces, additional £2 per piece)
Jamon Iberico de Bellota
It is always an indulgent treat to have mouth-watering cured ham. Jamon Iberico de Bellota is the finest variety and is produced from free-range pigs fed on acorns from the region of Extremadura in Spain. We felt the carver could have done with a bit more practice in producing a more paper-thin slice. £22++
Meat & Fish Tapas
Cordero con Arrocinas
Beautifully cooked chunk of juicy lamb rump in a bed of Arrocina beans & mint. £15++
Gambas al Ajillo
A healthy portion of peeled king prawns cooked in chilli and garlic infused olive oil. The prawns were a touch overdone in this occasion and we would have preferred it with a bit more chilli. £9++
Pulpo con Chistorra
Perfectly grilled fresh octopus in a bed of green peas. The meat was tender and full of natural flavours. £16++
++ after the prices indicate that this restaurant adds a discretionary 12.5% service charge to your bill