On Friday night a group of friends and I dined at Del Parc, a small Spanish restaurant in Tufnell Park. Having eaten here a number of times I've been keen to post about it because I believe owners Alan and Steve are providing some of the finest food available in London.
Ingredients come from Brindisa and each dish is intelligently and lovingly prepared in the open kitchen amid the diners in the centre of the rustically charming room. There is an incredibly homely feeling about the eating experience here, Alan serving everybody single handed and one immediately gets a sense of an ingrained passion and knowledge of the food they prepare.
We were a large group and for ease we agreed with Alan when booking to have the chef selection. I did however make a special request for the marinated olives to be included, the best olives I have ever come across, marinated in smoked paprika, olive oil and many herbs. They burst with flavour and are almost meaty in consistency leaving a welcome pool of marinade to be mopped up with the delightfully crusty bread.
There were a number of changes to the reservation, times and numbers were altered and each change was politely accepted and that's one of the main charms of Del Parc, the owners are amazingly hospitable and are perfect hosts, genuinely polite and eager to provide an excellent evening of food and ambiance.
We selected a red wine, each bottle on the menu has been tried and tested to provide the perfect accompaniment to the dishes, Alan is more than happy to recommend something and again, demonstrates that he clearly knows what he's talking about.
The chef selection comprised of so many dishes that I believe I may be guilty of omitting some here but you'll get the general gist. Following the olives we were presented with an aubergine dip and warm pitta breads, toasted and light these were very moreish and were quickly devoured. Next up was this selection of various tasty offerings
From the top: white asparagus spears which were a tad soft, caper berries, roasted peppers, marinated cannelini beans, mushrooms (these were the crowning glory of the selection, deeply flavoursome with smoked paprika and a hint of sherry) and some artichoke hearts. The only problem we had with this was having to share between three, whilst all wanting to dig in with no reserve!
Then came the blue cheese mushrooms which I adored. They prompted even Thomas, who is allergic to blue cheese, to have a taste. They looked too appealing to miss out on. The cheese was amazingly pungent and salty, perfectly offset buy the chunky earthiness of the portobello mushrooms.
Served next were the serrano ham, goatscheese and fig rolls. Everything comes presented in beautiful earthenware dishes, adding to the homely experience with an abundant variety of flavours in smallish portions allowing everyone to try many different things.
These rolls are a prime example of the taste sensation offered by Steve's culinary skills. The ham, cheese and fruit working together to excite and pleasure every palate. With most of the food there is an accompanying salad of rocket and tomatoes with a simple dressing, such touches showing an above average attention to detail which really places Del Parc in a class of their own. Another of the highlights were fried goatscheese balls drizzled with honey. An unbeatable combination. We really were fighting over these!
They were every bit as good as they look. Oozing hot cheese, crispy batter and glistening sweet honey. We are always sure to have a portion of these when we dine here. To follow this was a creamy chicken dish which we had never had here before. There was tomato,flat leaf parsley, onion and a nutty hint. I was a little tipsy and full by this point but to my delight the food kept coming. Lots of bread for the sauce too.
Another dish we go for without fail is the marinated prawns. These are served shell on, with a sauce of garlic, pepper, lemon, a hint of chili or some spicy seasoning and butter. Another great sauce for mopping.
There were also lamb meatballs, topped with a yoghurty dressing, and sadly we had to decline the squid because we were all too full. There was room, albeit some time later, for some desserts, the chocolate pot topped with ginger ice cream and some raspberry ripple ice cream with coulis.
Both were great, particularly the ripple ice cream, brilliantly refreshing and tangy. All this for only 35 per head. I advise you to check out Del Parc, they have a loyal local following and are definitely ones to watch. Don't just take my word for it, there are rave customer reviews on London Eating
167 Junction Rd, N19