Never was my pledge to have no alcohol in January so sorely tested as at Tiendo Cuatro in Parsons Green. Sitting in this cozy little tapas bar on Sunday afternoon with my usual drinking partner in crime Claire as the rain pelted down outside I was really craving a warming glass or two of Spanish red wine. No, I’m not an alcoholic and I admit that giving up alcohol for January pales in comparison to Jess at Ripe London (whose 21 day detox eliminated animal products, gluten, caffeine and sugar along with alcohol) but still I could not help but feel that this was an instance of sacrifice and self-denial to far.
Thank goodness for animal products, gluten, caffeine and sugar is all that I can say as their appearance in various guises at Tiendo Cuatro meant that Claire and I had a lovely lunch even if it was sans alcohol. Despite the weather the place was pretty full and had a cheery feel with its bright yellow walls adorned with colourful Spanish paintings and blood red ceiling.
The menu lists a selection of tapas along with paellas which were a bargain at £9 per person. However, waiting 20 minutes for a paella seemed like it might feel like an eternity so we opted for the (almost) instantaneous gratification of tapas. The grilled asparagus had a delicious slightly charred flavour although we mainly ignored the bland Romescu sauce it was served with. Tiendo Cuatro’s patatas bravas were presented as individual cubes of spicy potato topped with dollops of spicy salsa brava and alioli. They looked and tasted great and provided an interesting departure from the usual jumble of potatoes that you receive when you order patatas bravas.
Fried squid “a la andaluza” was crispy and light however the stars of our meal were the croquettes filled with serrano ham and bechamel with their dark bread-crumbed skin and soft creamy interior. We savoured the croquettes and paused long enough to order coffees and dessert in the form of churros. I never tire of these sinful Spanish donuts dipped in lashes of melted chocolate and Tiendo Cuatro’s version lived up to my exalted expectations. A return could be in order to sample more tapas along with the wine list. Roll on February…
Details: 108-110 New Kings Road, Parsons Green, SW6 4LY (Ph 020 7371 5147)
Damage: Reasonable (life is so much cheaper when you don’t drink alcohol)
If you liked this you might be interested in my review of brilliant Soho tapas bar Barrafina or hearing about my favourite tapas bar in Spain (although obviously sampling the tapas bars in Spain is an intensive and ongoing process that will take me many years!).