So Saf on Curtain Road has closed down. I went once, pre blog days, with a vegetarian friend who was visiting London and was happy with the cocktails and the fact that we got a table on a busy Saturday night. The food, not so much. They still exist but the Shoreditch restaurant has made way for a new offering from Brindisa. I'd not eaten at a Brindisa restaurant before, but have tried much of the produce available at the Borough Market shop. I was excited to try.
One night last week, after a few cocktails at Burger & Lobster, Farringdon, I took the opportunity to try Tramontana and hopped in a cab. I was happy to find the place pretty much full and lively, but we secured 2 stools at the lengthy bar with ease and I got started on some cava.
I know I've said it before, but for me, when it comes to tapas in London, it's impossible to top the experience of an evening at Barrafina. However, I always dine with an open mind, and obviously hope to be wowed by what I'm eating. Unfortunately, I cannot avoid making direct comparisons to how well dishes are done at Barrafina and, for me, Tramontana, doesn't come close.
We ordered 2 lots of croquettas throughout the evening, 4 are served per portion and the filling changes daily. The croquettas on the day in question were 3 meats and bechamel and they were very good. The serving of padron peppers was a bit on the stingy side for my liking, £3.75 for about 10 of them. I did get a super hot one though, always a treat.
The pan con tomate (£3.50) was a bit strange, on a tray with it's component parts presented for self assembly. I was actually quite excited by it to begin with but soon changed my mind when I overdid the garlic. Couldn't they just do it for you?
One of the most successful dishes of the night was the fiduea. I'd not had this before, it's short pieces of noodle cooked and served like a paella, with prawns and squid pieces. Really delicious.
Now on to the bad. The ribeye dish was served in the style of a pintxo. By this they meant served on some soggy bread. The meat itself was good quality but was undercooked, there was not enough cheese sauce, which was the best part of the dish, and the matchsticks of apple added nothing, it just didn't work for me.
From the daily specials I ordered the mushroom and eggs which came to the table in the pan it was cooked in, as a result of this the eggs were totally overdone. We sat next to the area where the dishes were presented for the servers to deliver to the tables, and many of them sat there for a while before being picked up. I was tempted to grab the egg dish and dive in before the eggs overcooked, but couldn't be sure it was destined for us.
I ordered the cheeseboard to finish which was nice, all the cheeses are available to buy, but rather than that being a good thing, it felt more like they were being hawked when the waiter suggested I might want to buy my preferred. At £12, it's not cheap and it consisted of cave aged cabrales, manchego, tupi and mahon, both hard cows cheeses. I would have like a bit more variety but the accompanying jellies and chutneys were good, as was the bread.
I was very full by the end of the meal and the bill came it just shy of £100 with 2 glasses of cava and 2 carafes of house white. Not bad value but there were more misses than hits so I am unlikely to revisit.
152 Curtain Road