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Editor'S Choice - 2019

Croquettes run in London: the Spanish style conquers the City

Potato tortillas, croquettes, Iberian rations, Roman squid, jerky, fabada, cabrales, rice pudding ... more and more Spanish dishes run naturally in London thanks to a batch of chefs and hoteliers who, little by little, are They make their way into the British Metropolis.

Sport and gastronomy are reasons for optimism in this gray time that devours us. Just as when the Red wins or when Rafa Nadal raises the cup in Roland Garros, there are people who feel Spanish pride, I am excited (I admit it shamelessly) to see how my countrymen succeed outside. I live his successes as my own, especially when it comes to large-scale projects that also require a lot of talent investment.

That's why a few weeks ago I was happy in London. The Celler de Can Roca was chosen as the best restaurant in the world: cooks and hoteliers, moreover, are planting, little by little, but decisively, the Spanish flag in the British metropolis.

The veteran -and endearing- hotel chain Melià has inaugurated Me london, your new flagship on the banks of the Thames. An imposing building in the Strand (the theater area) very close to the mythical Savoy, designed to set a trend precisely in the city where trends are born. The rooms are magnificent, the perfect soundproofing and decoration trendy total; but what is a real past is the reception: a triangular prism of black marble that is born on the first floor and culminates on the roof, from which natural light penetrates. An immense space, pyramidal structure, beautiful and overwhelming. In the rooftop bar, the Roof Top, set at 5 in the afternoon, in full afterwork. Models, executives, publicists, financiers, all willing to enjoy good cocktails and views over the city.

One of the terraces of ME London © Melià

At that same time, in the Docklands, the old port space today occupied by financial entities - the new city - the Iberian Canary Wharf terrace is bursting. “Yesterday we sold 240 liters of Estrella de Galicia beer, we sold out,” the Asturian chef explains satisfied and stunned Nacho Manzano who seems to shame his success in London, barely talks about this project that is already underway.

Two hams in one of the Iberian restaurants © Ibérica

Four years ago the first Iberian was inaugurated in partnership with a group of investors in Grand Portland St. After it was installed in Canary Wharf and this year they have opened a huge terrace. Total success. Through the tables of the three spaces (work by decorator Lázaro Rosa Violan) run the croquettes (exceptional), the Iberian rations (whose origin and cut is explained with care), the calamari a la romana, the cecina, the Asturian cheeses, the pitu de caleya (free range chicken with rice) and the typical rice pudding… Spanish cuisine without compromise. Notable specialties that have nothing to envy to those found in Spain. "The British like it," says Manzano. "They already know our cuisine from their vacation on the coast. The majority of the clientele is local, although many compatriots also come to placate the morriña. In the kitchen team everyone is Spanish, ”he adds.

The same scenario is repeated in Hispania, on the famous Lombard St. just below the headquarters of the iconic Lloyd's Bank. There another Asturian, Marcos Morán, acts as an advisor - and this time as a host. 900 square meters set with style by the interior designer Lorenzo Castillo, for which anchovies, rations of Russian salad, fried chicken wings, potato omelette (quite achieved) meatballs, companion croquettes, paella and a black rice that is dead. Marcos explains that they already make rice pudding and that the fabada will arrive shortly, the hallmark of his Spanish restaurant Casa Gerardo. Another bet of authentic Spanish cuisine, decide and brave. “Our idea - explains Marcos - is to connect with the financial clientele, we have space for tapas, restaurant, shop and private areas where they love to organize lunches and events. Being here is an opportunity, a privilege. ”

Hispania, where Marcos Morán acts as an advisor

The list of Spanish cuisine venues in London is growing and it does so with quality proposals, although some London media are still committed to jelly locals like Angels & Gypsies, where I took a tremendous disappointment. Much of the blame for this Spanish explosion has it José Pizarro (true pioneer of tapas and “made in Spain” cuisine in the city of Big Ben, where he started at the Gaudí restaurant and then lead Brindisia, and then open his own premises: José (tapas & sherrybar) and Pizarro (spanish restaurant). The phenomenon is repeated in other cities of the world andour chefs face diaspora ... But this I will tell you another day.

The Iberian of Nacho Manzano in Canary Wharf © Iberian Canary Wharf

Video: The Trip to Spain (November 2019).

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