Pre-gig bites were swift in their delivery and the staff so down to earth that on occasion I thought we were house-partying with them. More low-key and chirpy than Moro, we chatted happily to our waitress and the kitchen about quail egg deliveries and which moritos to have.
We plumped for padrón peppers - (the ultimate beery snack bar edamame beans and pork scratchings) scattered with crystals that gave perfunctory saltiness, croquettes that were light yet jam-packed with salt-cod.
We had wee boiled potatoes layered thick with a vivid green coriander sauce - a wonderfully simple and rustic dish, as was the sausage with white beans and alioli, which prompted uncouth mopping, ordering of the bread basket and unlimited alioli.
The star dish of the night
Sliced aubergines had their savoury-soft flesh drizzled with devilish miel de cana (a black molasses) and were followed by the quail’s egg and peppers - oh-so-sweet and perfect in its proportion. But this was the last dish, and there was a definite ‘is that it?’ disappointment by the end as the portions were so tiny. The recommendation was to have three dishes each, but when the tapas was an average £4 each we went for two-and-a-bit. This may have been a mistake.
The cooking cannot be faulted. Neither can the service and if I could I would swing by every day. But the bill steadily mounted, and though we did order a fruity Castro Regio Tempranillo at £15, we were all taken aback at how much it totted up to.
On the bright side, you don’t want to be gigging on a full stomach, and there lies the silver lining.
Go early on a weekday and preferably pre-gig, ready to be wowed. And bring lots of cash.
32 Exmouth Market
Islington EC1R 4
020 7278 7007