Cambio de Tercio
163 Old Brompton Rd
London, SW5 OLJ
Tel. 020 7244 8970
Food type: Spanish
Food rating: 6/10
Nearest tube: Gloucester Road/ South Kensington
Website: Cambio de Tercio
I was honestly supposed to spend all of the bank holiday weekend catching up with my blog but that all went to hell when my friend invited me to stay over in her posh new flat in Canary Wharf. So instead of starring at Microsoft Word, I instead ended up going around London doing everything but blog. At least I managed to get some eating done.
Cambio de Tercio is undoubtedly the best Spanish restaurant in London especially when you are looking for innovative, interesting cooking. Tapas favourites are often given a unique twist or in some cases, a complete makeover without compromising flavour. I was very impressed with my visit last year although there were a few inconsistencies which kept it from being a remarkable meal.
Ibérico Pata Negra Ham “5 Jotas Sanchez Romero Carvajal”, Toasted Bread & Tomato
There is nothing better to kick off the meal than a few slivers (or in my case, many slivers) of the very fine jamon pata negra, expertly carved to the right thickness, served at room temperature with some toasted bread and tomato salsa on the side. In my opinion, the temperature the ham is served at is as important as the carving itself – something which is often overlooked even at top restaurants. This is very important for the nutty flavour from the creamy fat to shine.
Red Tuna Tartar with Tomato Seeds and Avocado Aioli
Tuna tartar was uniquely served in a ball(?) accompanied by tomato seeds, avocado aioli and a tiny bit of caviar on the side. The slight acidity from the tomato and the richness of the avocado worked very well, although the addition of caviar on the side was unnecessary, especially given that it was of the cheap, farmed variety. Another nitpick is that whilst the amount of tuna was very generous, its proportion and the condiments on the side was skewed in favour of the fish. Nevertheless, caviar aside, this was a well thought out dish made with top quality produce. (6/10)
Char Grilled Galician Octopus, Potato Parmentier, Paprika Oil
To follow was the excellent char-grilled octopus on top a bed of mashed potatoes and a sweet, spicy paprika oil dressing. This has to be one of the signatures of the restaurant – the octopus soft, tender with the smoky overtone from the charcoal grilling complementing that from the paprika, the potato pamentier simply unctuous. This time around, there was no issues with the seasoning of the food.(6/10)
The “New Spicy Patatas Bravas”
Speaking of signature dishes, the reinvented version of patatas bravas here certainly qualifies as a must order. The version here bears little to no resemblance of the popular street dish. Instead, hollowed cylinders of crispy, fluffy potatoes are filled with a spicy salsa, topped with a cooling sour cream and some finely chopped chives. (7/10)
Monkfish in “Salsa Verde” with White Asparagus and Griddled Oysters
Monkfish was cooked correctly but unexciting served with a little white and green asparagus, broad beans and a single oyster. The main problem I found with this dish was the “salsa verde” sauce which had a gluey consistency. (3/10)
Prawns “A La Plancha” Garlic-Parsley Oil
Things got back on track with the classic prawns cooked “a la plancha” with a garlic-parsley oil and little lemon on the side. The prawns themselves were of high quality and timed correctly while the garlic-parsley oil giving a little bite. (6/10)
Skate Wing with Pig’s Ear ”A La Plancha”, Alegrias Chilly, Citrus Vinaigrette
A second fish course of skate with caramelized pig’s ear was a more successful dish – the tender skate a perfect contrast to the crispy, slightly gelatinous pig’s ear, with the chilly and citrus vinaigrette lending a hot and sour note to cut through the fatty pork. (6/10)
Char Grilled Lamb Chops, with Aubergine Puree, Manzanilla Green Olives
Lamb chops, grilled pink was nice and hearty – the combination with the aubergine puree sensible and the tartness from the minced green olives well controlled. (5/10)
Crispy Roasted Burgos Style Suckling Pig “3 Hours” with Rosemary Potatoes
Last but not least, for the savouries, was their suckling pig, cooked for 3 hours but nevertheless as succulent as you could ever imagine and the crackling, wafer thin. This was finished off with some pork jus made from the bones of the pig and some decent rosemary potatoes on the side. (6/10)
White Chocolate & Yoghurt Ganache with Passion Fruit Coulis
Desserts seem to be a ‘weak’ point here, the choices limited and options ‘adventurous’ but don’t take that to mean that they are bad. For example, a dessert of white chocolate and yoghurt ganache was well composed, with a pistachio powder and a fruity passion fruit coulis complementing the tingling heat from the ginger ice cream. (5/10)
Coffee here is accompanied by a token petit fours – chocolate dipped strawberries which was probably the weakest aspect of the meal. In my opinion, this seems to be a pretty tacky dinner party treat and the strawberries themselves were nothing to shout about.
Service was slick and despite the large party we had, things progressed smoothly and wine was topped up faultlessly. I was highly impressed with my second meal here and some of the inconsistencies with the seasoning which plagued my first meal have been addressed. While some combinations may sound odd, dishes are nevertheless well constructed and each component having a purpose on the plate. It is definitely worth keeping an eye on Cambio de Tercio when the Red guide is released next year, because, for me, this was a meal worthy of a star at very least.