18-20 Southwark St
Tel. 0207 357 8880
Food type: Spanish (Tapas)
Food rating: 4/10
Nearest tube: London Bridge
Website: Tapas Brindisa
It is 20 years since Brindisa began importing Spanish produce into the UK. Back then, not much was known about Spanish food. Back then Spanish cuisine was often associated with peasant food containing excessive amounts of garlic and olive oil. Brindisa, the wholesaler, opened way back in January of 1988 with the aim of supplying expatriates here with high quality Spanish produce. Many years have passed since, and today, with the British public more knowledgable with Spanish cuisine, Brindisa stocks up a mighty array of cheese, top quality charcuterie, olive oil and other produce.
My first introduction to Brindisa was on my first visit to Borough Market. Their retail outlet there also has a small stall which sells the most gorgeous Chorizo, Piquillo Pepper and Rocket Bap. Queues for these baps can stretch around the corner on Fridays and Saturdays. They also stock the most best ham money can buy – the hand-carved Joselito Gran Reserva Ibérico ham yours to have for a mere £20 per 100g. Their jamon remains one of life’s greatest pleasures. Sorry parma ham, you have always been second best.
Tapas Brindisa is located at the edge of Borough Market and has access to all the freshest produce the market has to offer. Housed in an old potato warehouse, chef José Pizarro dishes out traditional Spanish tapas with modern influences alongside the aforementioned cold cuts and cheeses. Tapas Brindisa is fiercely popular, even during these times of the credit crunch. The restaurant is packed by 6pm for dinner. Unfortunately this is compounded by the no-booking policy so you really do have to come early if you want a table. Thankfully, even with their popularity, they do not (yet) have the much maligned 2-hour seating policy. (They have two other tapas outlets – Casa Brindisa in South Kensington and the newly opened Tierra Brindisa in Oxford Circus)