Three years ago, I was enjoying my own Spanish experience – indulging on all the delightful croquetas, tortilla and jambon I could afford. Fast-forward three-years and my palette has found safe passage through the pandemic, arriving at the northern regions of Spain via Dover Street, where Spanish twins Alberto and Arian Zandi have welcomed El Norte.
After navigating the crowds that spill out of Green Park station we headed towards the not-so-distant sparkle of The Ritz, before escaping to Dover Street arriving at El Norte, where two smartly dressed suits guided us into the restaurants lobby. The atmosphere remained as laid-back as the staff in a good-way. The ceilings are high, and the walls and interiors are sleek and sophisticated, spread over two floors and an adjoining bar makes for an ideal destination for a sherry or two.
From the curated list of cocktails, there are many firm favourites, but if you’re a fan of the Negroni, try Black Sea (white negroni), gin infused with Butterfly P, Lillet and Suze – a perfect accompaniment to the spoiler alert* Tortilla de Trufa. More on that later. After enjoying our drinks, we were keen to see what El Norte had to offer.
The El Norte team are passionate about sourcing the best quality ingredients. They work closely with many of the best Spanish suppliers to source the finest provenance, a detrimental factor to serving the food of Northern Spain. Items taken from the menu were already transporting our palates over the region’s finest gourmet exports, whether it be Galician beef, olives and olive oil procured from Córdoba, or the ripest tomatoes derived from Andalucía in southern Spain.
We started with a selection of dishes which included the Ensalada De Tomate (fresh tomato salad with sweet vinaigrette), a wonderful showcase of the simplest ingredients harmonising on the pallet. The Tortilla De Trufa was imbued with truffle and dusted in a melted layer of Manchego – rich golden blankets of deliciousness. The certified classic, Croquetas De Jamón, are much like that friend you only see at a party and when you catch up, you’re drifted back to old times.
Dishes continued to follow in succession. Mains included Pluma De Cerdo Iverico Glaseada (Glazed Iberian Porto with Potatoes, Pulo A ala Brasa (Grilled Octopus with Pepper Sauce & Mashed Potato) and the classic Spanish dish Potatas Bravas.
Iberico pork resembles good beef in colour and taste once cooked. This was an incredibly moreish dish, and my guest and I wielded our cutlery like warriors for every piece we could secure from the platter. The grilled octopus had a wonderful texture and a savoury smokiness from the grill. There is never a dish that can’t be excelled further by the humble potato, and Potatas Bravas is an exceptional celebration of Spanish flavours that’s comforting and delicious and savoured over a glass of Ramon Bilbao.
To finish we went all in with churros and chocolate which made a rather swift vanishing act.
El Norte is a curious place, with exceptional food and a relaxing environment, delivering on the famed and favoured flavours of that region in one destination without the airmiles.
To discover more, visit: el-norte.co.uk
Imagery courtesy of El Norte.
View this post on Instagram