La Farola – Not your typical tapas

Growing up in Europe I’ve had my fair share of tapas and nothing beats a Spanish holiday full of tiny plates of delicious, usually not-so-healthy, treats. And the best part is… these deep fried delights are so cheap. Which brings us to my biggest pet peeve about London, the ‘sharing plates/tapas culture’ that has sprung up here. Restaurants have latched onto this trend of offering small plates, usually priced at just under a tenner, to diners advising them ‘4 or 5 each to share is what we recommend’. Pull the other one, pal!

In light of this, I usually avoid small plate restaurants and traditional tapas restaurants as well. I just refuse to pay a lot of money for food that is often served free alongside a beer in a Spanish bar. This means that I’ve walked by La Farola so many times. It’s very bright and cosy from the outside and looks more like a teahouse than a tapas restaurant. This is not a place you should walk by, in fact, run in and pull up a seat. You’re in for a treat.

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Good luck with the menu, there are so many amazing sounding dishes that you’ll be hard-pressed to decide. But, from all the plates I saw whizzing by, you probably won’t go far wrong ordering any of them.

We started with a couple of classics. Croquetas de Jamon and Patatas Fritas. Very solid dishes and I particularly liked the way that the Patatas were served with the spicy sauce and mayo on the side. This is a great filler dish, if you don’t want to splurge too much. Things got interesting when our next dish arrived, the special of the day: Deep fried prawns on a spicy sauce with bacon bits. The best bit of these is that the spice is a great accompaniment and doesn’t overpower the sauce at all. Be careful if you’re sharing, you might just end up fighting over these.

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My boyfriend is a lamb lover, so we had to order the Chuletas de Cordero, which is lamb cutlets served with butternut squash mashed with garlic and cavolo nero. In classic Linzi fashion, my favourite part of this was the cavolo (kale) and the mash. Just so many fantastic flavours here, I’ve never had butternut squash pack a punch like this. It would be a great side dish on its own in any roast dinner.

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Finally we had the empanadillas arrive. Beautifully presented, they are deep fried filo pastry filled with spinach, goat cheese and pine nuts served on a bed of guacamole. I felt like these were the naughtiest and most deserving of a shoutout of the whole meal. Vegetarian but still totally kickass and delicious. Again, I just didn’t want to share. I feel like La Farola could easily open a vegetarian restaurant and it would be amazing.

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Back to my original point, tapas are rarely cheap and I think the whole meal with a couple of drinks cost us about £60 but the food was fantastic and every dish was better than the last. The difference between La Farola and every other tapas place is how inventive they are with their dishes. It’s not boring calamari deep fried and chucked on a plate. They’ve thought these dishes through, even the classics are a revelation. La Farola also serve breakfast tapas, are you tempted?

It’s well worth a visit and let me know what you decide to get!

Taste: 8/10
Ambience: Romantic
Value for money: 7/10

101 Upper St, London N1 1QN, United Kingdom

La Farola Cafe & Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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