What’s not to love about a down at heel little tapas bar which has a devoted following of regulars and is cheap as chips? Certainly, Galicia in Ladbroke Grove is atmospheric. Rickety wooden tables are crammed into every corner as the regulars prop up the bar. Something of a local institution, Galicia has been at the unfashionable end of Portobello road for years. It was the place that David Cameron championed as his local haunt as proof that he is a man of the people (that Galicia could survive such a back handed compliment makes it even more of a venerable institution). I am instantly charmed and really want to love the place.
Sadly, despite all that Galicia has going for it, I can’t say that I really love the food. The white crusty bread we are served is stale, a cardinal sin. Galician chicken stew of fatty, unloved pieces of chicken in a tomato based sauce fails to impress with its insipid flavour. Our serving of prawns is lacklustre with the prawns swimming in a creamy sauce ringed with oil. Similarly, the patatas bravas has been sitting in its spicy sauce for so long that the potato pieces are soggy and listless.
Simple dishes are probably the best bets on the menu such as the little terracotta plate of sizzling chorizo in oil or the salty and moreish serving of glistening bocarones. Order these along with a generous jug of Sangria and soak up the atmosphere and reasonable prices rather than hoping for a gourmet tapas experience.
Details: 323 Portobello Road, Ladbroke Grove, W10 5SY (Ph 020 8959 3539)
Damage: Such a bargain even my mother would approve