Casa Brindisa

7-9 Exhibition Road

London

SW7 2HQ

020 7590 0008

octobrill

On Monday night I made a rare trip to West London for a Dine with Dos Hermanos hosted dinner at Casa Brindisa. I very nearly decided against going as it was £40 and I have exactly £45 to live off until the end of this month, and after all this was a school night. I then found myself more than a little intrigued as I am a fan of their blog but have never met them (or indeed any food bloggers) before. A quick glance at the menu and I was sold:

Gordal olives

Salted Marcona almonds

Diferentes tipos de jamon – Serrano, Joselito paleta, and DOP dehesa de Extramdura

Toast with tomate

Differents anchovies – Ahumadas and salted

Tortilla de patatas

Iberico ham croquetas

Gambas

Green salad

Pulpo a la Gallega

Iberico Pork fillet with Apple sauce

Esalada de frutas with olive oil

Leche frita with vanilla ice cream

Cheese plate

ham

But how to live on a fiver until July? I was reminded of a particularly harsh time at primary school when Nicola Hawkes had a swimming pool and Wimpy party and everyone in my class got to go except me. Not wanting to add to the emotional scarring I indulged in a spot of light stroppage in front of the fiancé and secured the dosh (“But it’s not FAIR. You’d only spend it on that man rubbish anyway”).

goodnes

Surely it must be pretty much every restaurateur’s worst nightmare, a load of food-bloggers descending on them with a broadsheet restaurant critic to boot. Would it be like that scene in the Witches except with the staff as the mice? They must have been bricking it.

gambas

Thankfully of course, I was completely wrong. Contrary to my expectations the staff seemed to be absolutely loving it. They had that rare and expiring quality in restaurants, the one that’s sadly all too often replaced with desperation in these nail-biting monetary times – confidence. Confidence about serving us dish after glorious dish of Executive Chef, Jose Pizarro’s exceptional food.

chef and simon

I met the lovely Sig of Scandilicious, and we made our way in. Simon immediately put me at ease with a glass of Manzanilla sherry; he was a convivial and excellent host. I met some geezer called Jay Rayner and told him off for bad Facebook form. He told me off for not voting (yes, yes, I know my crime was far worse). After claiming not to know anyone else there either we had a pre-prandial chat about Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension and the psychos at large. Apparently, once you’ve been on the telly you attract an even weirder strain of nut-job. He told me he was considering publishing his first ever article from his student days at Leeds, but it was just too unbearably bad. We then sat down to eat with Sig, Silverbrow, Choc Star, Theboydonefood, his lovely girlfriend, some really nice Turkish guy who’s name escapes me, Simon and that Jay bloke.

jay

Anthony Silverbrow and I discovered we had a mutual angst when it came to pork (he’s a good Jew and I’m a bad Muslim). He turned out to be far stronger willed than I and this resolve was rewarded with a truffle scented fried egg with asparagus. I on the other hand gave in almost immediately at the merest whisper of peer group pressure. Muttering feebly about how it was fine as long as they were happy free-range/organic I got stuck in to the buttery plate of pink leaves. Sweet and melting, it bore (sorry) the taste of pigs so loved up they must surely have been slipped ecstasy tablets prior to slaughter. I also adored the smoked anchovies (so delicate they must never be allowed near any heat) and the marjoram and orange scented Gordal olives, each one as meaty as a baby’s fist. Deep fried Monte Enebro goat’s cheese with orange blossom honey was a show-stopper and the rich, subtle almond-laced monk fish croquettes left me uncharacteristically speechless. A glass of Pedro Ximenez sherry was like molten caramel, with a gorgeous slick and tarry texture.

sherry

Simon gave me lots of advice about food blogging, and his lovely sister ate meat for the first time in seventeen years (it was really that good).  It’s always great to meet fellow Bengalis especially food loving ones, and he gave me a great recipe for rabri that I’m going to try over the weekend. I also briefly met Food Urchin (apparently aka “Daisy”?!) Niamh (Eat Like a Girl) and Helen (Food Stories) – I would have liked to have stayed and mingled on, but by this point the sherry had got to me. So sadly I left and made the long journey back to deepest, darkest East London.

octo

On the train home I went through the goodie bag like a kid at Christmas, garnering envious looks from the other commuters as I examined my chocolate turron and bag of jam sugar. All in all it was a stellar evening worth every penny and I’m already looking forward to the next one at the Bull and Last in Hampstead.

people

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16 comments

  1. Sadly the thing I am most jealous about is that you got to meet Jay Rayner.

  2. gastrogeek

    I’ve met him before, at some god awful meedja party. He’s a very nice man. Simon told me a funny story about the time someone came over to them both in a restaurant and asked him if he was one of those “Dos Hermanos” guys. Hilarious!.

  3. Dear Friend!
    Greetings from Shizuoka, japan!
    very interesting post!
    “a load of food-bloggers descending on them”! LOL
    I can assure that in japan, they would be more than welcome! As for my home country, France, that would be dodgy, what with open war between food bloggeres and s0-called “critiques”!
    “Pulpo a la Gallega”! Fusion or Japanese? LOL
    Don’t worry about being a bad Muslim! Did you know that pork prohibition is not written in the Coran? jews and muslimsunderstood too well the danger of eating pork in a hot climate a long time ago, but had no other recourse but to interdict it for the safety of their folk!
    That said, have you ever seen The Thirteenth Warrior? You will understand what I mean!
    Incidentally, ditto for wine!
    Forgot to tell you I spent all my college years in England and that as a frenchman i play cricket in Japan!
    take good care and don’t forget to buzz me upon your next posting!
    Chers,
    Robert-Gilles

    http://shizuokagourmet.wordpress.com/

    (in case WordPress takes you to my Fantasy blog!)

    • gastrogeek

      Wow Shizuoka eh? I used to live in Yoshikawa in Saitama-ken (or as the school kids I taught called it “Da-Saitama”)and have visited Hamamatsu in Shizuoka a few times. I bet your cricket-playing antics are popular out there!
      I’ve heard that said about pork and booze before, but nonetheless I still woke up at 3am and felt wracked with guilt….

  4. Oh, I’m wild with jealousy from this report from a metropolis with fantastic tapas. That pulpo pic reminds me of a story about food in a Korean restaurant with tentacles so fresh they were still actively suctioning themselves to the plate. (And thanks for visiting my site – I’m looking forward to following your food adventures too.)

    • gastrogeek

      Wow that octopus tale sounds amazing, if slightly grisly! Have you seen that scene in Old Boy with the live stuff? I do love that film. Your site is inspirational, I can’t believe you actually managed to find the time to bake fresh bread amongst everything else!!

  5. Dan

    Wish I’d have gone to this – a place came up at the last minute, but I was working from home and couldn’t be bothered to get the train in.

    Great post btw Gastrogeek, very interesting I paticuarly liked your comparison of an olive to “Meaty, as a baby’s fist”

    Seriously, that’s pretty scary.

    Hopefully I’ll be able to say hello at the next one at the Bull and Last.

    • gastrogeek

      Thanks Dan. What a shame you weren’t there, you missed a great night – re. the olives, I suppose it is a bit of a weird thing to say in retrospect isn’t it? Of course, I don’t go around gnawing on the fists of infants! (At least, not on a week night). See you at the next one.

  6. Mother-in-law-to-be

    Halfway through reading your post I realiseds that I was actually salivating !!!! Smoked anchovies, now that sounds a v. good idea, will try and track some down, although I already have a nasty addiction to the non-smoked variety from Waitrose so probably shouldn’t ! Bon weekend xxxx

  7. Mother-in-law-to-be

    … and as a muslim attempting to toe the line you won’t want to know this but I am about to head off to the kitchen to slow-cook some slices of pork belly for later. Is it too early for a cheeky glass of wine ? It is Friday after all !

    • gastrogeek

      Hello MILTB – Well, I can see I’m marrying into the right family! Will try and get some smoked anchovies for you for next weekend x x

  8. I want my £40 back

    Gastrogeek? Blagstrogeek, more like.

  9. Sounds like a fabulous evening, even with that ‘Jay geezer’ there… ;-)

    My vote goes to the deep-fried Mont Enebro. My local cafe-deli serves it warmed, and drizzled with rosemary honey. Wonderful.

  10. gastrogeek

    Dear I want – errm there’s something I’ve been meaning to talk to you about- you see there’s this food festival next weekend called Taste…..

    Hello a F of S – that cheese was special. I’ve had it before and disliked it, but served like this it was sublime. You’re so lucky to have somewhere nearby that does it. Rosemary honey sounds delicious!

  11. It was the sherry that did us in m’lud, honest.

    Great night wasn’t it and was lovely to meet you too and yes, that’s my new name now.

    Think it rather suits me, don’t you?

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