Bar Esteban – Crouch End, London

Edgy, attractive Spaniards, friendly and tasty food are what springs to mind when thinking about Bar Esteban. The menu is varied, and features both traditional tapas (patatas bravas, tortilla, pimientos de padron to name but a few) and dishes with a more contemporary twist.

The staff were so nice that even though we were half an hour late it did not matter. “Don’t worry… come and sit down at the bar” they said. The buzzy atmosphere made us feel even more welcome.

We ordered salt cod croquetas, cecina de Leon (air-cured beef), bread basket with olive oil and aoili, pimientos de padron, coca de escalivada (flat bread with roasted vegetables), plaice with asparagus and an interesting sauce (daily special) and pincho de pollo con romesco (chicken skewers with a nut and red pepper-based sauce from Catalonia, Spain). The croquettes were wonderful. They passed, with flying colours, the test that croquettes and fish cakes must go through; does it taste of real fish or just potato that spent a brief amount of time with some fish? The beef was also great and really interesting, a little like bresaola but more smoky and although it didn’t come with parmesan it had a definite hint of parmesan to it. The bread and aoili, pimientos de padron, flat bread and plaice were all very good. I especially liked the chicken as it was very succulent and the sauce was excellent.

£25 per head, wonderful food and ambience, highly recommended.

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