There are certain places you wish were literally on your doorstep so you can ‘accidentally’ walk into and end up eating there all the time. Bravas on Cotham Hill is now definitely one of those places for me.
Starting as a supper club, Kieran and Imogen have set up somewhere quite wonderful. And the word is spreading very quickly: on a Tuesday evening we watched as at least four groups within an hour, were told to come back later. On a Tuesday!?! Obviously people are thinking the same thing as me – that this place has a bit of everything. Scrummy tasting food, impressive drink selection, super friendly service, cute decorative touches and bustling atmosphere. With a glass of sherry in my hand whilst perusing the tapas menu, and if I avoided looking out the window at the grizzly day, I could almost imagine that I was in Spain. Almost.
The drinks menu recommends that a great way to start is with a gin and tonic, sherry or cava. As a new fan of sherry I chose to try out the fino (on the waiters recommendation) – a Delicate almondy aroma, dry and light on the palate according to the menu. My friend opted for the gin and tonic. Well, what is termed as a gin and tonic but is so much more, with the addition of almond flavours. According to our friendly waiter, in Spain you can get bars dedicated to the good old G&T. This fact alone makes me want to hop on a plane to sunnier climes. Throughout the rest of dinner I was tempted by the 2010 Albizu Tempranillo, simply due to it’s menu description: ‘soft, juicy and gluggable’. This is dangerously gluggable for a Tuesday, and I had to use all my self control not to order a third glass.
With drinks decisions made, it was time for the more difficult decision of what food to order. All options looked delicious. We went on the theory of three tapas per person and tried to cover a bit of each of the veggie, fish and meat options. Our personal choices included:
- 2 x Patatas bravas, of course! Controversially, these arrived as thinly sliced pieces of potato served in cups with the spicy tomato sauce on the side. I am admittedly a sucker for these kind of cute touches so loved the idea.
- Stewed roast peppers with sherry vinegar: Deliciously sweet dish to balance the meatier dishes.
- Spinach with raisins and pine nuts: The accompaniments turned the humble spinach into a showstopper.
- White beans with leeks and fino: Sooooo good. As a massive fan of meat, this was surprisingly one of my favourite dishes. I’m not quite sure what they do to make beans so tasty, but whatever it is, I loved it.
- Cuttlefish frito with alioli: Crispy coated pieces of tasty fish that were gobbled up in seconds.
- Gambas pil pil: Still sizzling as they arrived at the table, these prawns have just the right amount of kick!
- Lamb with parsley and hazelnut sauce: Amazingly tender slices of beautiful lamb; the sauce was so moreish I could have licked it off the plate.
- Chorizo in cider: Chorizo is one of my favourite foods, and cooked in cider it was pure genius.
Still a little bit peckish – these are small nibbly plates to eat alongside good wine, we ordered another round of the delicious white beans and spinach and the grilled pork cooked on the grill, which obviously also cooked to perfection.
The final highlight of the meal was the salted chocolate truffles. Incredibly gooey bites of salted chocolate goodness that oozed in your mouth. So good I watched my friend’s expression as she struggled with whether to be polite and share the last bit of her truffle (there were three of us and only two truffles) or put it in her mouth. The temptation won. Since then I am already planning to go back simply for their dessert platter. The idea of getting a taster of all desserts on their menu with a glass of Pedro Ximinez each sounds too good to be true.
Everyone needs to try this place out; but I would recommend you book. Although places are kept free at the bar for passers by, these fill up quickly!!!