Friday, October 01, 2004

Review of Providores Tapa Room

I had a quick snack at the Providores Tapa Room in central London today, my 3rd or 4th visit.
£20 (including service) for a sherry, starter, dessert and two espressi.

Crispy spring rolls stuffed with Szechuan braised duck, feta and guindilla chillies with tamarind aioli were pretty good. Not enough feta + I didn't think it worked with the duck. The tamarind aioli was very good. I can't get enough of tamarind. I fondly remember a tamarind caramel here which the kitchen let me try which was stunning.

Coconut 'sushi' with passionfruit raspberry parfait, roast plum, tobacco syrup and chocolate brittle was very good. The plum didn't add anything + the chocolate brittle tasted more of caramel than chocolate, but the rest was excellent. Coconut 'sushi' was a slice of coconut flavoured rice, on top of which sat the parfait and brittle tuile. The parfait was excellent, the raspberry and passionfruit worked perfectly. The sharpness of both fruits was carried by the creaminess of the parfait. The tobacco syrup was good and the smoky, raspy feeling it gave on the back of the throat seemed to work with the sharp fruitiness of the parfait.

Only complaints were small plates which made eating rather difficult and slightly haughty service. I wanted the coffee with my dessert but it didn't happen because the waiter couldn't be bothered to listen.
The service here is either very friendly or snobbish, but generally I like the place, and the coffee is the best I have tasted in London (+ I drink a lot!)
Also, it is close to the Ginger Pig butcher (excellent bacon, beef, pork...), La Fromagerie (good but too expensive), Divertimenti kitchen supplies (for posh housewives), Paul and other foodie shops. The Oxfam there normally has good food books also (I have got Troisgros and MFK Fisher there).

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