2 Abingdon Road
London W8 6AF
020 7795 6969
“It’s a bit cramped up here” I say “You’ll be closer to your loved one” says the waitress referring to my partner. Loved ones unfortunately for me have connotations: Evelyn Waugh’s The Loved One and Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles where the loved one can be presented just as they were before death, reading the Los Angeles Times over breakfast, before cremation. We are sitting in a narrow balcony at L-Restaurant, sky lights above looking down on the more generously spaced restaurant proper. Next time will book down there – we have just walked in but they have found us a table on a Saturday evening. There are mirrors the length of the wall below reflecting the tables underneath us. There is something rather Nordic, Heal’s like about this clean modern environment: certainly nothing Spanish, no hams hanging from the ceiling or Spanish waitresses.
We order a single tapas as a starter: Jamon Serrano y Gambas a la Plancha. This is in fact two prawns wrapped in some ham on a cocktail stick x 2. Unfortunately it arrives just after the main courses. It is salty, lemony fresh and zesty if quite small for the £6.50 – something repeated in terms of scale to price ratio with the main courses.
I have oven roasted stuffed squid with tomato and pepper salsa, chorizo and saffron rice, £14.95. There are three squidlets in a small oven dish and they are delicious: tender, and peppery hot but they are more a generous tapas portion than main course in size. The saffron rice served in a small mound comes separately. I could have eaten more of them. Frankly they are better than anything I have had in more Spanish environments.
The wine we order is also a success: Albarino Torroxal Rias Baixas 2008. The Albarino grape is thought to be Riesling in origin (though this is disputed) brought by San Juan de Compostella pilgrims to Spain: it certainly has a Riesling like minerally quality as well as being scented, floral (the big rose on the label is apt) and the mark up is not too ludicrous. A quick entry on wine searcher finds it for £12.09 compared to the £29 we pay.