Our visit to Lola Rojo on Monday was supposed to be for a quick glass of wine and a small snackette before Jamie's cookery school but I still managed to sneak in five dishes!
When you walk into Lola Rojo, it's immediately apparent that this isn't your average tapas bar. The sophisticated decor is cool white, with flashes of red - sort of art gallery meets boutique hotel.
The food is an adventurous, modern take on tapas. There are some of the old classics but usually with a creative twist.
I've eaten at the restaurant several times since it opened in 2006 and have always been impressed with the presentation of the dishes. Most also taste fantastic but occasionally some miss their mark.
The crispy aubergine with orange blossom honey was good but I didn't taste the honey. The chestnut mushroom with manchego was a big let down. This was one of the dishes I'd picked out on the menu earlier in the day and had been drooling over. The dish looked lovely but the mushrooms weren't cooked through - part warm part raw - the accompanying sauce was bland and the taste of manchego didn't shine through. Shame.
The cheese croquettes were a triumph. Ok, so nothing particularly unusual about them but they were presented well, crispy on the outside and fluffy in the middle. Oh and really, really cheesy. Delish.
If there's octopus on the menu, I'll order it. And I did. In this case, grilled octopus, roasted potatoes and onion with aioli sauce. The octopus was excellent, very tender. The roasted potatoes appeared to be boiled and the aioli lacked oomph.
The baby squid with honey and spinach was really good. We ordered it without the chorizo but it was still flavoursome and tender. Not sure the spinach added much though.
The all-Spanish wine list is excellent with lovely categories and descriptions to help you choose. Most of the bottles are reasonably priced too, in the £20 region.
All in all, a meal at Lola Rojo is an experience. You definitely feel like you've been somewhere different, it's just a shame that a couple of the dishes let them down.
|Chestnut mushroom with manchego|
|Baby squid with honey and spinach|