When we opened North Star Delicatessen almost eleven years ago, I spent a lot of very enjoyable time researching which products to stock. Some suppliers were new discoveries, but there were a few I already knew I couldn’t open without, such as Brindisa.
Back in 2003 Brindisa was a well established wholesaler of Spanish ingredients and we regularly placed orders for delicious cured meats, smoked paprika, paella rice, chorizo sausages for boiling, Manchego and our second best selling cheese, Cabrales from the Picos mountains. This addictively astringent blue is so strong it takes the roof off the inside of your mouth and it’s pasty mottled appearance makes it look like it died from the pox.
After 16 years as a wholesaler, Brindisa set up their first restaurant ‘Brindisa Tapas’ in 2004, in London Bridge. Shortly afterwards they opened ‘Casa Brindisa’ in South Kensington followed by 'Tapas Brindisa' Soho in 2008 and their newest site, ‘Tramontana Brindisa’ in Shoreditch.
Today marks the 10th birthday of ‘Brindisa Tapas’ and they’ve been celebrating by offering all dishes at 2004 prices when things were more reasonable and young men had less facial hair. This put me in mind of our visit in May which I never got round to writing about. The photos were so gorgeous and we had such a great time, I’m happy to have an excuse to post it.
Casa Bridisa is a bustling, informal London restaurant, serving top quality tapas. The menu is subject to small daily changes depending on deliveries, stock and fresh seasonal produce and is almost impossible to choose from, but they always have Padron Peppers (£5.70) These are strong flavoured small green peppers traditionally grown in Galicia served simply seared in a blisteringly hot pan and sprinkled with rock salt.
From the ‘Charcuteria’ section, Iberico Chorizo (£5.25) is made from a mixture of minced or chopped meat and pork fat, all exclusively from Iberico pork, with the addition of salt and smoked pimentón before aging-drying.
Whitebait (£4.50) just simply fried and sprinkled with good salt and a squeeze of lemon.
Croquetas (£6.90) are deep fried and breadcrumbed balls of white sauce and whatever the chef has in the fridge. The Spanish are particularly good at it. These were de Jamon.
Beetroot, walnuts, pear and Picos Blue cheese - from the same area as Cabrales, but less…macho (£7.00)
Brindisa Cheese Board (£13.75) a bit of everything.
We washed all this down with Rebujito, a refreshing mixture of Fino sherry and lemonade. We were so relaxed, being in London without the kids, meeting friends, eating a rolling programme of tapas, chatting and drinking in the afternoon, that I ordered a second jug (we were WITHOUT THE CHILDREN) Sorry to be so provincial, but if I’d have known that they were charging an eye watering £19 for each jug of sherry and lemmo I think I’d have stuck to just one. I wonder what it cost in 2004…..
Casa Brindisa, 7-9 Exhibition Rd, South Kensington, SW7 2HE