Two weekends ago, I visited the first restaurant on this list and boy, was it a good’un! Seriously, if this has set the bench mark, I’m going to be embarking on a real culinary adventure. I’ve travelled extensively around Spain, so have had my fair share of very good tapas. Unfortunately, I’ve also had tapas over here, at places that have done it all wrong. The guys at Lobos have got it spot on though – and it’s not just tapas they specialise in, but pork (lomo, if you will) too. Trip Advisor was full of glowing reviews, I’ve added mine and I’ve recommended Lobos to everyone in sight. Please, if you’re in the Southwark/Borough area, please go – even if it’s for a cerveza or vino with some jamon!
The restaurant itself is quite small, so booking is recommended. The bar is on the ground floor and you’re greeted with all the hams hanging up (lovely), before heading up the oak staircase to the restaurant area. The kitchen is open and we saw (and spoke) to the chefs in action – I’m sure the restaurant seats about 20 and it’s definitely cosy, with the tables quite close together. It is beautiful though and almost cave-like, as in, it’s built under the bridge of the station. Yes, you may hear a passing tube, but it isn’t a disturbance at all – and you’ll be too busy eating to notice. The bar has that traditional Spanish taverna feel and I’d loved to have had a drink there first.
However, I’m going to go straight in with the food, as after all, I have a lot to get through! We made the mistake of ordering everything at once – but if I were to go again, I’d definitely order a couple of dishes at a time, ordering more as necessary. Not only was there a real lack of space on the table, but of course the dishes are small and prepared quite quickly, so I found myself eating and eating and eating – although we did have a breather before our main arrived. We were never left waiting long, which was good – you could easily have a more leisurely meal, should you wish.
You can’t really go wrong with freshly baked rustic bread and olive oil (£2.50). While it was great for snacking on before the first plates arrived, it served as a great base for our other dishes, pinchos style. Next arrived the padron peppers (£5.50): one of my favourites because they remind me of family holidays, or meals at my auntie and uncle’s in Madrid. There’s something comforting about them – as well as the danger of getting a hot one. I actually had three hot ones! These were fried well, with just the right amount of rock salt. I could have eaten more than one plate.
We then had the croquetas (£7): bite-sized balls of yummyness, filled with ham, chorizo and bacon. They really were incredible, melting in the mouth and the béchamel sauce was so creamy. I’d heard good things about this dish and it totally didn’t disappoint – I loved the way it was served too, in the mini fryer. Again, I could have eaten another portion, but alas the next dish arrived to the table...
Iberico bellota jamon (£14.50)! I think one of my favourite things about Spain, is the jamon. The butcher near my auntie’s does a great selection and a lot of the time, you can try before you buy. You know you’re getting the real deal, when you see the hams hanging up, ready to carve. Although some find it fatty, the fat is one of the best parts as it retains all the flavour. This would have been my favourite, but for our main meal.
The final appetiser we tried was the traditional tortilla (£6), which contained potato, onion and green pepper. I love Spanish omelette and this was no different. Again, it was served well, in a mini frying pan and was cooked to perfection. It was still warm as I cut it into cubes and was beautiful on top of the bread with a piece of jamon.
After a short pause for breath, we were presented with a pork lover’s paradise: the iberico pork selection (£26.50), containing pork fillet, pork shoulder and a secret cut and all served with accompaniments. Hand on heart, this was some of the best meat I’ve ever had: the quality, the way it was cooked, the flavours, just wow! My favourite was the pork shoulder (presa) which came with grilled red pepper. It was almost steak-like, grilled to perfection and so beautifully seasoned. I could have just had a platter of that, or even made a pepito sandwich (another one of my favourite things). Jake loved the secret cut (secreto), which was also amazing – I have no idea to describe it, other than it was like tenderloin but a million times better. That came with mojo chips: thinly sliced potato crisps, topped with a green salsa sauce (mojo verde), made of garlic, spices and pepper seasonings. They were far too hot and strong for me, but were very interesting. The fillet was cooked in paprika and other orangey, smoky seasonings. It was also very good and came with trintxat potato (kinda like a rosti with mashed potato and cabbage).
There’s no way we could have managed a dessert as well, but I didn’t mind. Once our boards and plates were taken away, we got the bill and I was pleasantly surprised to see that it came to under £80 – very reasonable considering the amount and quality of food we’d ordered. You can see the love that goes into creating the dishes and I’ll definitely be back. Not only do I need that iberico pork platter in my life, I’d love to try the dogfish, tetilla cheese and the lobo bun (a popular dish).
Love, Lucy xx