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When take out just isn’t giving you enough of a buzz, then swap to “cook at home” and this one, hosted on a Sunday evening, was great. It’s from The Tapas Room in Brixton Village, which is rapidly becoming a favourite of ours and, glad to say, is now open for “outside” dining. See our visit last October here. But this time a small group of us joined a Zoom call and followed the demonstration.
It was their “Dia de Pascua” menu and as well as the ingredients in tubs (ones with stickers went into the fridge), we also received lots of truffle oil, virgin olive oil and old, slightly sweet PX vinegar and three – yes three – bottles of wine. There is nothing complex about this meal. The most difficult issue was finding the Battersea restaurant to pick up the “hamper” – it is behind a Tesco Metro – when I say behind you really need to use your GPS.
If there is anything too difficult then they have already prepared it for you. We failed to take pictures of the final plates – we were too hungry and wolfed it down without a thought of where our phones were.
The mouthwatering menu begins with Lustau Puerto Fino (dry sherry) with a set of tapa – Marcona almonds, Catalan fuet (sausage), caperberries, picos (dried bread pieces) and pan con tomate. The only thing we had to do was to slice the sausage and prepare the pan con tomate – fresh grated tomatoes with garlic and seasoning on half a lightly toasted ciabatta roll. We were advised that if you leave the tomato mixture overnight then the garlic infuses and is even better. But we ate it straight away and it was fresh and delicious.
The next tapas – although quite a hefty portion – was wild mushrooms with quails eggs. You saute the mushroom mixture in olive oil and then place them on the two pieces from another toasted ciabatta roll. The quails’ eggs are a little tricky to extract from the shells, but we got good instruction from the Tapas control room. The quails’ eggs are lightly fried and go on top of the mushrooms with a drizzle of truffle oil, salt and PX (vinegar). Really tasty and easy to do.
Next came the lamb chops on peas and panceta with anchovy butter. Here we were glad of the anchovy butter. It would be easy to make it ourselves, but so much better to have it in a pot. The panceta and the finely diced shallots (again another time saver) come in one pot with the frozen peas – put them in a pan with a splash of water. Then you need to cook the lamb in a frying pan using the olive oil. It doesn’t take long – it was recommended as 2 minutes per side but that depends on how hot the pan was when you start. Too little time and the lamb will be too pink. This then needs resting for at least two minutes but five would be better. Serve the dish together with the pea mixture on the bottom and the chops artistically placed on top (as we have no photos you will have to take our word for it). Then the pièce de résistance, anchovy butter spooned onto the lamb. This was eaten with the Sabina Estate Crianza – a fruity Spanish red.
The final course was a Tarta de Santiago with cherry compot. A lovely end to the meal, as the tart (an almond cake really) was light and not too sweet and the cherry compot was tart. We ate this with our favourite wine of this meal – a not too sweet red called Libamos Dulce de Mencia. It describes the wine as flavours of redcurrants, red cherries and a mineral background – we just thought it was fantastic. We like to drink something with pudding and most are far too sweet, but this was just right.
The cost – £80 for two – was expensive, but we did get three bottles of wine, as well as the food and many of the ingredients, the truffle oil, olive oil, the PX vinegar and the salt, are stock for the cupboard. We hope they will do this again, although we note that at least three of their restaurants are now open – including Brixton, so book soon.