Brixton is big on the restaurant scene and is one of the many reasons why I love living here. There are still a few places on my radar that I have yet to tick off my list, until now one of them was Time Out’s Best Cheap Eat 2012, Boqueria, a tapas bar and restaurant. It’s named after Barcelona’s extremely popular food market, and is located a little further out from the hub-bub of Brixton’s centre towards the Clapham end of Acre Lane.
Inside it’s contemporary, bright, sleek and the night I go with my friend, Paul – rammed! Paul doesn’t eat meat or fish – I very much do, so instead of sharing our tapas we decide to order separate dishes for ourselves. I order: octopus on a bed of potatoes, suckling pig, and prawn and monkfish. Paul: grilled vegetables, Padrón peppers and one of the specials of the day; goats cheese with a tomato marmalade. Each dish is served as soon as it’s cooked. I confess that my fork might, just might, have accidently on purpose reached out to his plates – all in the name of research may I add.
Octopus with potatoes
We both find the grilled veg and Padrón peppers to have an odd, almost water-logged texture, still tastes good though and the flavours are there. Paul delights in his goat cheese and tomato marmalade special – my fork behaves on that dish so can’t report back on that one. The octopus dish is beautifully tender, with piquant notes from the paprika, but is let down by it being over seasoned. The prawn and monkfish is outstandingly good, so too is the suckling pig which is a great modern twist to Spanish food with its sweet potato crisps, apple sauce and lemon sorbet acting as a perfect palate cleanser between bites of the deliciously rich and succulent suckling pig – both are seriously well executed dishes.
Cheesecake with raspberry marmalade
For dessert I choose the cheesecake with raspberry marmalade and Paul the Crèma Catalan. Both could’ve done with a bit of ramping up in the flavours department, but still very nice. Our meal is washed down with a Nerola, Cataluña Organic 2010 and Tio Pepe – not all in one go I hasten to add.
Service wise, the staff are friendly and attentive given the busy night. The majority of the staff are Catalonians which adds an authentic feel, but when wanting to know a bit more about a few of the dishes I struggle with my little non-existent Spanish, them with their English. Paul happens to have some Spanish blood and is very good with the lingo – I’m not, so gratefully steps in when I have a few questions to ask.
Boqueria is a lovely tapas joint with some outstanding dishes in their repertoire. There’s a downstairs area that can be hired out for private parties too. It’s open for lunch and dinner and the same menu is available in both the bar and the restaurant. Tapas are priced at around £3.90-£7.90.
Food I Fancy dined as guests.
192 Acre Lane,
Brixton, London SW2 5UL
Tel: 020 7733 4408