Aug 10 2013

Tramontana Brindisa

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Brindisa brand is a Spanish tapas expert in London with 4 restaurants across London in Soho, London Bridge, South Kensington and also now in Shoreditch, their latest restaurant which opened in autumn 2012. I went to the Shoreditch branch called “Tramontana Brindisa” on a Saturday evening with my boyfriend and another wonderful couple Santa and Ian. Tramontana Brindisa is named after a northern wind, Tramontana is the name of a wind that affects parts of Spain’s coastline.  Brindisa Tapas Kitchens serve freshly prepared Tapas along with cured meat, cheese and fish plates from Spain’s best producers. Monika Linton started the Brindisa mini empire by doing wholesaling and retailing in 1988, and 16 years later (in 2004) she opened the first restaurant with the help of the famous chef and restaurateur Mark Hix in Borough Market, a restaurant where I have been and which I have passed many times and always found it full and buzzing.

I had booked a table the day before for dinner for 20.00 as all the other places that I wanted to go in Shoreditch had been already fully booked, and Tramontana Brindisa was one of the few places where you could book a table for a Saturday evening. Not sure if this says anything about the quality of the place that it is easy to get a table there, or maybe it is because Tramontana Brindisa is quite a big restaurant with tables spread across an outside courtyard, inside, booths, and they also have communal large tables as well as the option to sit by the bar watching the chefs cook. When we arrived very few tables were occupied and when we left at around 23.00 around ½ of the place was full, so it was not as buzzing as some of the other restaurants in Shoreditch, but as I said it is much bigger (seats 100 people) than your average small Shoreditch restaurant.

Tramontana Brindisa menu includes tapas from eastern Spain, dishes and ingredients from coastal, inland and island areas of Spain. The menu was written across 1 piece of paper and featured charcuterie, cheeses, nibbles, cured and tinned fish, cooked tapas as well as Tramontana rice pots made with single estate bomba and carnaroli rice from Illa de Riu family owned farm. We decided to each chose 2 dishes and then share everything and on top of this to get some Jamon Iberico and padron peppers as well as the rice pot dish.

All the food arrived randomly, when it was ready, and the first thing we got was the Jamon Iberico, which was perfectly cut (all the pieces in the same shape) in small pieces and which was delicious, like you would expect from Spain produce wholesalers. Next came the “pan de coca & tomate” and we were a bit surprised to see this dish when it arrived as it had all the elements of the classic tomato bread dish, just presented separately, we had the pieces of toast, garlic, salt, oil and tomato halves and the waiter explained we had to create our own tomato bread and he quickly explained the steps how to do it (garlic, tomato, salt and oil) when we said we did not know how to do it. Ian even asked if they could not do this for us. I have slightly mixed feelings about this, and I can’t decide whether I liked this sort of presentation and liked putting the tomato bread together, which turned out super delicious, or if I would have preferred for them to do it. My boyfrend for example could not be bothered to put it together but when it came to eating it, he ate the delicious piece of tomato bread that I had created with love.

Next came the “padron peppers” which were good, like normal padron peppers, and my boyfriend even got a spicy one. The “sardinillas” or Galician Sardines were served on a piece of bread and were quite nice, but not too memorable. “Gambas a la plancha” or Grilled Prawns with Shell- on were good large grilled prawns with salt and lemon, you got exactly what it said on the menu, good grilled prawns. The next dish was “aubergine with garrotxa cheese and almonds and honey” and was quite interesting for me, as I have not seen or had this sort of aubergine dish in any other tapas restaurant. The “grilled chorizo on toast” with Rocket and piquillo peppers was very enjoyable, I very much like cooked chorizo and it was very tasty, but it was funny as this was another dish served on a piece of bread/toast. The broken eggs that came with sausages and potatoes were delicious, although very differently served to the broken eggs that I have had in another Spanish tapas restaurant El Pirata de Tapas in Notting Hill, but I loved the potatoes here and the sausage, and it had a lot of flavour and it was all topped with fried egg.

I was not a huge fan of “grilled lamb cutlets” that came with butternut squash and mojo Verde, I did not think the butternut squash pieces were that tasty or went well with the lamb and I did not think the lamb cutlets were that nice. At this point the waitress cleared our small plates and wanted to prepare us for the rice dish, and after she had done it our last small tapas dish arrived, “meat balls in tomato sauce” so she had to clear the larger plates and give us back the small plates to have the meat balls. I was also not that impressed with these as despite the tomato sauce the meatballs felt quite dry.

As I mentioned previously we had also ordered the “arroz caldoso de pescado” which was Bomba rice with fish and prawns and cost £15 per person (it was for minimum 2 people) and it took at least 30 minutes to cook. We ordered it for 2 people so for £30 and we got a huge pot full of rice and despite the fact there were 4 of us eating it, we could not finish this, so great value for money here, so don’t try to order it for the amount of people you are, otherwise you will be left with a lot of rice. I loved the rice and thought it had a lot of flavour, I liked how it was not dry, but in a sauce, and I thought the presentation was excellent as well as it looked great when it arrived in this huge pot and we ate it from these deep soup plates. The only criticism could be that there were not that many prawns and fish in the rice, it was mainly rice, but then again it was so flavoursome, I actually did not need that many prawns/ fish.

I don’t think the tapas were that different to tapas in other Spanish restaurants, and they were good, some better than others, but overall they did not stand out for me enough to say that this was better than any other good quality Spanish restaurant out there, having said that, I very much enjoyed the meal. Also what did stand out for me was the rice dish, a sort of different take on the Spanish paella, it was a great end to the meal.

Date: 10/ 08/ 13
Location: Shoreditch
Price for 4 people with alcohol and service charge: £170.89

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Square Meal

Maija rated: 

3.50

Location: 

Tramontana Brindisa
152 Curtain Road, EC2A 3AT
London
United Kingdom
GB
Tramontana Brindisa Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 3.5