07 March 2010

Cómo Se Dice "Brunch" en Español?: Dehesa Review

I've acquired a taste for tapas, recently, in part because now that I'm starting to eat more like an adult with (shock horror!) spices and (eek!) flavour and in part because there are more and restaurants where you can eat tapas-style without having to eat Spanish food. Polpo, a new-ish Italian in Soho, is my favourite of these with its bite-size chichetti to start, interesting main courses and yummy puddings.

I've been meaning to check out Dehesa, a Spanish/Italian tapas bar just off Carnaby Street for some time now (usually when I walk past at six on a Saturday evening, tired and hungry after a long day of shopping) so when E asked me to suggest somewhere central for us to do brunch, I decided to suggest Dehesa instead of Providores, my usual choice. As Dehesa is usually rammed of an evening, we arrived at the start of their lunchtime opening and were rewarded by sitting in one of the small, curved, leather booths by the window. It wasn't overly busy, which suited us fine as we wanted to chat, but there was a nice, buzzy vibe.

When we were presented with the menu, though, I began to wonder if I had made an error as the menu items were decidedly unbrunchy--charcuterie plates, salt cod croquetas, tortillas and the like. I asked for the brunch menu and was told they just did one brunch dish--a sort of Mediterranean version of the fry-up with pancetta,  fried eggs (which weren't overly greasy), tomatoes and ciabatta. I was a little disappointed not to have more choice but the brunch option did sound good so we both ordered it (incidentally, their website does say "brunch specials available" weekend afternoons rather than "brunch menu at the weekend"). The double espresso I ordered was good and E's OJ also tasted nice. I was relieved to find that the churros with chocolate sauce I had promised E did show up on the pudding menu as the brunch special and I couldn't not order them. And yes, they were cinnamony and yummy.

The lack of queue meant we could linger in the prime real estate that was our booth for a couple of hours and all in all it was a successful brunch that didn't require us to wait outside in the cold for 30 minutes as would have been the case at Providores. I would definitely go back to Dehesa for lunch or dinner and probably brunch too, despite the lack of choice. It is probably OK for me to patronise a non-antipodean establishment in London once in a while, I suppose...

Dehesa. 25 Ganton Street, London, W1F 9BP (Tube: Oxford Circus). Website. Twitter.

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