Today it’s time for me to get a Spanish fix. Something I need frequently – my love of Spain is well documented. And as luck would have it there’s the perfect place just down the road from my home (gotta love London).
Casa Manolo is on bustling St Johns Road just minutes from Clapham Junction station. As well as a restaurant at the back, it has a fabulous gourmet shop at the front packed with goodies to make your mouth water. The array of Spanish jamon in many forms, cheeses, sandwiches and cones filled with delicacies, welcome you in. You can smell the aroma of ham in the air. It feels like you’ve been transported to Spain. Oh happiness! And how’s this for a tempting pile of sandwiches.
If you don’t want the bread these little cones make for perfect snacking. I love the mixed ham.
Also loving this jamon scene – so much choice.
What’s on the menu
If you can get past the cornucopia of ham and cheese (and it’s worth trying), there’s a cute, authentic-feeling tapas bar at the back. The menu includes plenty of cured meats and cheeses, a cold and hot tapas section and some specials.
Who can resist a dish called chorizo al infierno. Spicy mini sausages of grilled chorizo served in a silken sauce. For me this is Spain on a plate – it’s even one of the national colours.
Another classic dish – champinones al ajillo – tapas-style garlic mushrooms. Garlic is such an evocative flavour of Spain.
Some of the best octopus I’ve ever eaten has been in Spain so I had to try out the pulpo a la Gallega. Galician-style octopus served with creamy mashed potatoes, paprika and olive oil. Another Spanish plate to salivate over with its tender octopus and the smokey paprika overtones. And of course great olive oil.
Casa Manolo is the sort of place I would pop in every week if it was really close to home…just as well it isn’t really. But at least I know some Spanishness is only a short bus ride away.
Today’s price point
Our four tapas dishes cost £38.
Wine starts from £24 a bottle.
Casa Manolo is at 20 St Johns Road, SW11. There are also branches in The Strand, Chelsea and Putney.