I’m picky when it comes to a good cocktail, but these were a great start to the evening – a really smooth and rich expresso martini (presumably made with their own-blend Caravan coffee), and a deliciously seasonal spiced apple and pear dacquiri, made from a home-made spiced pear and blackberry compote.
The menu consists of a number of small plates, large plates and pizzas, which makes it easy to share or not, depending on what you fancy. We started with some really tasty jalapeno cornbread with chipotle butter – I’ve always found cornbread too sweet and dry (even my own homemade version), but this completely converted me – it had a soft texture dotted with corn kernels, and was slightly fried and crisp on the outside with a good chilli kick. This was our favourite dish and we were reminiscing about it the next day as a cure for a few too many more cocktails later that night.
We shared a few other small plates – cauliflower with sage breadcrumbs and San Simon (a new cheese to me - a cow's milk cheese from the Spanish region of Galicia), which was a little like posh cauliflower cheese without the sauce and had just the right amount of bite left in the cauliflower, with the sage really coming through. The sweet potato and chorizo croquettes with saffron aioli were an interesting take on the Spanish classic, but the deep-fried duck egg didn’t set well on its baba ghanoush accompaniment, as the charred aubergine flavour was too overpowering for the poor crispy egg.
The pizza we then shared had a rather un-Italian seasonal topping of spiced pumpkin, pesto, piquillo peppers and feta – this unusual combination was a little rich, but worked well together and the crust had the perfect crisp/doughy balance. They also gave you chilli oil, parmesan, dried chilli and fresh oregano on the side to add, which was a nice touch.
We were too full to try dessert, but had a really good bottle of wine for £20 – the bill came to a reasonable £72 (including the cocktails and the rather patchy service), and overall a great, relaxed place for some interesting food and fabulous drinks.