Condesa Cool*

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Just before Christmas I was in London enjoying festive coffees and chilly walks through Hyde Park. I spent the evening in Covent Garden and after being briefly mesmerised by the lights I headed to Maiden Lane for dinner.

I've been thinking about sharing this little gem with you for a while, it is a must if you're in the area and perfect for a date. 
Condesa gives off a palpable atmosphere of cool. It's low lighting, soft music and intimate seating all contributes to the feeling you're at the coolest dinner party in London. 

I felt like a friend being welcomed into Condesa and was immediately entertained by the open kitchen that also serves as a bar and seating area. The food is prepared on the spot and a list of specials that changes as frequently as every day are written in chalk.
Romantic, sensual, understated.

We started with wine and people watching. Good combination.

Then we tried the fish ceviche. This was my big surprise. Ceviche isn't something I'd usually order but this delighted me by packing a big punch of flavour. 

Then we opted for a cured meats board. Two highlights here, chilli stuffed olives - which received dazzlingly high praise from my boyfriend and a dried tuna. Another surprise for me. I'd never tried dried tuna before and these salty strips practically melted in the mouth.

As we moved on to the meats, we opted for a red wine. Jack kindly sampled and approved.

Next, pulled pork brioche burgers with green tomato salsa. Rich smokey flavours counterbalanced by a sharp salsa. One draw back: could eat it all in one bite. Ok, I did eat it all in one bite. 

Then we tried the corn truffle and flat mushroom quesadillas. Less tang, more earth. The flavour variation and capability Condesa offers up is incredible.

Then we opted for the massively different pork cheek with sweet cherry sauce. This was hot, filling and almost at odds to the other dishes we'd tried. The regional variation in each dish was wonderful and surprising. One moment your taste buds are tingling with the salt of fish and acid of lime, the next they're being seduced by the sweetness of cherry and richness of pork. Delish.

To finish, we sampled the cheese board with a little drop of sherry.

We enjoyed manchego (my new favourite for any occasion), mahon and valdeon. They were accompanied by a quince jelly and fig conserve. Taste explosion.

Condesa impressed me.
The prices are reasonable but for me, the relaxed, languid and informal atmosphere was priceless. It revitalises the notion of tapas and tempts the taste buds to more with every bite. Condesa is serving some of the best Mexican food in London.
If your New Year's resolution is to really - and I mean really, enjoy the food that you eat, try Condesa.
Website here.
Sister bar here.

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