A catch up with an old friend who’d been around the world aye aye aye (that’s one for the kids) and we descended on the increasingly Monoclish LCSt. Intending to go to the old school Italian (as recommended both by my chum’s Italian pal and the FT) we didn’t make it past Cigala, of which I have only fond dining memories.
Cigala is long-established and not part of the new wave of Spanish restos exemplified by the likes of Salt Yard.The room has that homely, lived in feel that makes you feel relaxed as soon as you sink into your seat. The customers seemed to be for the most part locals and the tables are generously sized to allow discreet conversation.
We went for a slew of tapas – a few staples like padrone peppers and tortilla, as well as things less often eaten like porky crunch things (I forget the exact name!). All good. My dining companion was a bit sniffy about the tortilla (‘Not as good as Barrica’) but I munched my way through it quite happily.
There’s an extensive Spanish wine list and I decided to make a random choice which happily led to one of the stranger exchanges I’ve had with a waiter,
‘I’ll have a bottle of the Mencia’
‘Would you like it chilled?’
This threw me. I didn’t know what Mencia was but it was listed under the reds.
‘Ummm, should it be chilled?’
‘Yes, this wine is like a Beaujolais … We drink it chilled’
‘Ok … I’ll have it chilled.’
‘But it’s fucking cold outside …’
That raised an eyebrow.
‘Yes, it is!? … Does that make a difference.’
‘Only, I wouldn’t have it chilled when it’s so fucking cold outside, you know?’
‘Okay, we’ll have it at room temperature’
He went off and brought back a chilled Mencia, ‘Sorry, this is the last bottle’
It tasted good! Especially as brought to us by the hardest swearing waiter in London.
To see which other restaurants I’ve visited in 2016 check out my GoogleMap
Blue Badge guide to London and academic specialising in early twentieth century history. Blogging on history, academia, and food and culture in the capital (and occasionally elsewhere).