So last week, after all my burger eating, I decided a healthier dinner was probably in order. Spanish food is healthy…right? My chef friend had planned dinner for us in Soho, but then the tube strike happened. I waited, shivering in the cold London weather, and when he arrived pushed him hurriedly into the nearest likely looking restaurant I could find – Hispania, a Spanish place about half a metre from Bank tube station.
A sign stuck in the window says the place is ‘Michelin recommended’, which we found a little odd – I mean, if they recommended it, wouldn’t they give it a star? This gave me a bit of a clue as to what the restaurant might be like, but I tried to ignore my reservations, went through the rather unnecessary curtain in the doorway, and we were seated – in a draft by the door. Okay. Brr.
We ordered wine from a slightly snooty waiter and looked at the menu. Hispania is in a lovely building, with more seating up the staircase, and an almost too loud bar behind us. I do wish we’d been able to sit upstairs as I think the atmosphere may have been nicer. Menu-wise, there’s a huge amount of choice on the menu and we decided to go for a selection of tapas dishes.
First up: a selection of cured meats, served with toasted bruschetta and (oddly, considering there was no dips) breadsticks. The meat was lovely – the iberico ham was my favourite, but to be honest it was all good and we polished it off pretty quickly.
We also ordered some crunchy cheese bites, which were unremarkable to look at, and small, but excellent – I would recommend them, although I wish you got more for your money.
Next up: salted peppers. Good, but not excellent – a bit bland. We had them with a chorizo Spanish omelette which I really don’t recommend – it tasted like a Tesco quiche, and looked like a big lump of dough!
Finally we had scallops, which were really lovely, with wilted spinach and sweetcorn and cooked to perfection – but again, you only got three, and these really weren’t cheap.
The waiter endlessly topped our wine up throughout the meal, which was attentive to the point of slightly irritating actually – he would literally watch me take a mouthful, then leap over and fill it up again. Maybe he was just bored, but it was really quite odd!
I can’t really recommend the Hispania. The food was hit and miss – some excellent, some very mediocre – but paying what I like to describe as ‘the City tax’ to eat in Bank meant absolutely all of it was overpriced. Having said that, if like us, you’re in the area and starving, it’s not bad – I just wouldn’t venture out of my way to go!