Eats and treats

Camino Monument, London

We were a little surprised when having reserved a table we were shown to one, albeit neatly laid with lovely snow white napkins, in the bar rather than the main restaurant. It was in a cosy corner beneath pictures of Seville, one of my favourite Spanish cities, and turned out to be a terrific spot from which to watch the lunchtime office workers pile in for lunch or a drink in this lively, buzzy tapas restaurant/bar. I love tapas but it was a whole new dining experience for my friend.

From the really warm greeting when we walked in to the super service the staff were wonderful; patiently taking time on a busy service to chat whilst charmingly explaining the menu and suggesting various sharing options. In the end, having ascertained what we didn’t like, we left the ordering to Momo. His choice was excellent: from the 24 month old Jamón ibérico cebo at £6.25 via some melting squid, Patatas bravas £4.25, Morcilla con alegrías (fabulous pan-fried black pudding with spicy alegria peppers) £4.50, Pinchito de pollo (chicken skewer, romesco sauce) £4.75, to Croquetas de jamón (Serrano ham croquettes) £4.50, the dishes were taste buds treats of subtlety and heat. The dishes came out from the kitchen piping hot and at just the right pace; we were never hurried, but as we cleared one, so another appeared in front of us.

We finished lunch with a slice of the yummy almond tart Tarta Santiago . We also thorough enjoyed a small carafe of very acceptable red wine at £12.50 (Camino has an excellent wine list). Coffee was my first (and not the last) experience of Café Bombon – espresso coffee sitting atop a slug of condensed milk.

Camino interior

We were somewhat envious of the London City office workers having somewhere as fun and exciting to go for lunch or indeed for a lively evening venue. And should you be in Mincing Lane on a Tuesday evening between 5pm and 8pm and in need of a drink call in at Camino – its Tapita night – and along with every drink comes a small free tapa.

It turned out that a table had been reserved for us in the main restaurant, but we were glad that wires got crossed. We loved our friendly, corner table in the bar and that is where you will find us in the future. A.B/R.P.

Camino Monument, 15 Mincing Lane, London EC3R 7BD. Tel: 020 7841 7335. www.camino.uk.com

NB: Other Camino bars and restaurants in London can be found at King’s Cross and Canary Wharf. There is also a dedicated sherry bar, Bar Pepito, in Varnisher’s Yard, King’s Cross and the UK’s first dedicated Cava Bar, Copa de Cava, will open in May 2013 at 33 Blackfriars Lane.

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