I was reminded just how enjoyable this combination is the other day when I dropped by London’s latest tapas bar Barrafina and enjoyed a pre-dinner pick-up of a glass of Hidalgo with some al-i-oli and toast. The sharp tangy sherry was the perfect foil for the crisp toast and silky, garlic-flavoured mayo that accompanied it.
Manzanilla is the driest of Spain’s sherries. It’s made right on the coast in the small town of Sanlucar de Barrameda which gives it an almost salty flavour. It should be served freshly opened and well chilled. (It’s better to buy in half bottles than full size ones so you can finish it within a couple of days) It will go with any kind of tapa - roasted almonds, olives, slices of chorizo, wedges of tortilla and any kind of crisply fried fish as well as the more ambitious creations that they serve at Barrafina such as Tuna Tartar and Grilled Chicken with Romesco Sauce.
Barrafina, which is at 54 Frith Street in Soho, is the latest enterprise from brothers Sam and Eddie Hart who opened the very successful Fino a couple of years ago. It’s a tiny place, as many authentic tapas bars are - just a counter (if a very posh counter) with seating and standing along the side. There’s no booking which is a refreshing change in these days of 2 month waiting lists. Good for a pre-theatre drink.
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