Thursday, 28 March 2013

Morito

Tapas holds a special, sentimental place in A and C's hearts. We're definitely not ones to get soppy, but after a nigh on disastrous first date it was during our second meeting at a tapas bar in Covent Garden that we began to bond over our mutual love of Spanish food, language, travel and so on. We're both very fond of tapas, and while we've been with other friends several times, we realised the other week that we'd never actually been back to a tapas bar together since that second date.

C suggested rectifying this with a trip to Morito - the infamous Spanish tapas bar in Exmouth Market, near to A's work in the city, and the so-called 'little sister' of Moro next door. We'd heard excellent things, but with neither of us having never been there before, we decided it was time to try it out.



Morito is one of the many "no bookings" London restaurants - for dinner, anyway. It's an extremely compact space, and gets very popular very quickly in the evenings, so we recommend getting there early if you want to eat at a sensible time - for some perspective, we put our names on the waiting list at about 8pm on a Thursday and got a table around an hour later. It's worth the wait, though, and there are a plethora of good pubs around to have a drink while you wait (strangely, we went back to the pub we first visited on our semi-disastrous first date, so it was an evening full of weird memories).

To summarise, the food at Morito is good - it's very good. C and A have both spent a lot of time in Spain; C in particular, who spent most of her summers there every year while growing up. This means that they know good tapas when they eat it, and they ate it here. The patatas bravas (or "papas bravas" as we affectionately call them) were, for example, absolutely top notch and authentic, from the presentation to the crispy-and-soft textures of the wedges, to the taste of the spicy tang of the sauce. The jamón croquetas were similarly authentic; crunchy and hard on the outside and gooey, soft and warm on the inside: a real treat for the mouth. And the huevos rotos (eggs cooked with peppers, potatoes and chorizo) were bursting with flavour and colour.


It's not just pure Spanish here, though, so don't think you're coming to an upmarket La Tasca; rather, the clue is in the name for Morito, and there are Middle Eastern-inspired dishes cropping up left, right and centre on the menu alongside the more standard Spanish choices. As regular readers will know, this only served to heighten our enthusiasm for the place - try the lamb koftas with harissa and yoghurt or the fattoush salad, for example, to get a taste of the Middle East, Turkey and the Levant injected into the Spanish menu.


Anything you try here will undoubtedly be excellent, but for us there were two absolute stand-out dishes. A's favourite was the scallops in sherry vinegar with butter sauce; no great surprise there, then, as this man could eat scallops all day, every day and still not get enough of them. These scallops were excellently done (even C, who's not a huge scallop fan, had to concede) and the sherry vinegar complemented it wonderfully. C's favourite was the spiced, Middle Eastern-inspired lamb served with herbs, pine nuts, aubergine and pomegranate seeds. The flavours were perfectly balanced and the whole dish was just thoroughly enjoyable and aromatic.

 
We were also pleasantly surprised when the bill came; tapas can be a pricey business, and yet several dishes with a glass of wine and a beer came in at under £50, which we think represents excellent value for money.

If you haven't been to Morito for excellent tapas yet, go. And if you have been - well, go again. We know we certainly will.

Apologies for the iPhone photos - spontaneous visit but too good not to blog!

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