Knowing I would be in town with Mrs Grumpy in the early evening I phoned ahead and booked this place intending to take advantage of the Lunch/Pre Theatre menu, always a good indicator as to what you might expect from the place during a proper night out.
As you can see from the outside, it is in the latest trend of dark colours and the inside is much the same, pared back and dark, did I mention dark. We were shown to our seats and presented with menus. Then for some reason they dimmed the lights, did I mention dark already? Mrs Grumpy at one point used the electric table candle to read the menu, she said she was only joking; I know better, it was dark in there.
Our assigned waitress was soon by our side to take a drinks order. She was very pleasant and friendly. We ordered some tap water and two glasses of wine, one red and one white. They soon appeared on our table with a bottle of water with the restaurant’s logo on it. I assumed it was the tap water I had ordered. After a very long and well practised dialogue about the food, mainly the type of beef from Spain and how terribly old it was with fantastic fat marbling we decided to stay with the pre theatre menu. Mrs Grumpy and I both ordered the confit pork belly stew, chorizo, morcilla, butter beans and charred bread as a starters. With a side order of olives and bread.
The olives were very tasty and the bread was, well the bread was a small roll actually. I felt as if my wallet was already being mugged. £3.50 for a roll, really? The confit pork belly was tasty but the stew it was served on was a bit on the oily side. Both of us felt that the dish would have benefitted from a little sharp note to counterbalance the amount of oil in the dish; nicely presented though.
Onto the mains, Mrs Grumpy ordered the pan seared cod, cauliflower croquette, giroles, broadbeans, jamon and peas. I decided to try their version of Secreto Iberico Bellotta, served with manchego fries and Mojo Verde. Which has a supplement of an extra £3.
Mrs Grumpy was not happy that her cod skin was not crispy and that again the overwhelming feel of the dish was that of oiliness. For my dish, I once again felt my wallet being mugged, 5 small slices of meat and a sauce-boat of oil with some herbs and chips. I have eaten this dish before in a number of places and been impressed, sadly however, not on this occasion. The cod was nicely plated up, my dish however you can see for yourself.
We did ask for the desert menu which our waitress brought. We had a look at it and Mrs Grumpy had made her decision which desert we were going to share. Our waitress was nowhere to be seen and no one else was attending to us. So 20 minutes later we decided not to bother and attracted someone else’s attention to pay the bill. Oh! and that bottle of tap water. Well, it was now on our bill as a bottle of still water. I inquired about it with the person who was helping me pay. She seemed to know nothing about it. I paid, we left.
I called the Spanish Butcher the next day to ask if I was actually charged for my tap water. The explanation I got was that they cannot charge for tap water, it was a mistake and that they were sorry.
My overall customer experience in the Spanish Butcher was not entirely a happy one. It did not fill me with joy, it did not delight me. Again, in my opinion style over substance.
Will I go back? After a couple of days reflection, no. Should you go? Well that’s up to you.