Monday, 15 October 2007
Pinchito, Old Street
Pinchito is barely a few months old, but already has the atmosphere of practiced ease of a much more established restaurant. That's not to say everything about the place was great - it wasn't - but it feels "comfortable" in an almost indefinable way, as if it's been there for years. In fact it's strange the tapas revolution that seems to be sweeping London at the moment has taken so long to take hold, as the idea of nibbling away at a number of different plates of good quality ingredients cooked simply alongside a glass of chilled sherry should appeal to everyone. Well, it appeals to me.
The best compliment I can pay Pinchito is that it's at least as good as Barrafina and a little bit cheaper. The recommended Tio Pepe chilled sherry was lovely. The platter of cold meats, comprising chorizo along with a couple of other spanish salamis was very tasty. The Iberico ham however was a little disappointing - the red meat had a nice rich smokey flavour but there was too much fat through it and the overall effect was a little sick-making. And it was £12 a plate.
Tomato and bread turned out to be a bowl of tomato juice with crispy mini toasted bread, and was nice enough. Albondigas were meaty and satisfying, and the deep fried squid was delicate and moreish. We also enjoyed the pimentos - grilled peppers - even though they were quite heavily salted and the waiter even suggested loading them with even more salt at the table. We didn't, they were fine.
Service went through peaks and troughs; initially they were attentive and smiley but halfway through the meal a group of young Spaniards arrived and thereafter they seemed more interested in chatting to their mates than acknowledging my frantic silent requests for another half bottle of sherry. But this was a minor complaint, and they made up for it with the enthusaism of the presentation of the food and the drink. Everyone seemed genuinely excited about the produce on offer, which was marvellous.
All in all it was a very pleasant hour or so, and a perfect example of the kind of place that London seems to be churning out at a healthy rate these days - informal, friendly, enthusiastic and genuine.