La Boqueria Tapas, Brixton

I know a charming little place…

The Vibe

This is a neighbourhood restaurant set perhaps a little too far down Acre Lane but the walk is graciously broken up by a Grand Union pub (biggest beer garden ever). Enter La Boqueria to be greeted by a man who will beam at you the entire meal. It isn’t nauseating, it’s heartwarming and he’ll proceed to charmingly sing praises for the star dishes. The front room is a tapas bar that you can sit up on and have casual nibbles but for reservations, which I recommend, head to the back for a simple and modern dining room. It’s just one room with some specials scrawled on the back wall and is at its best during the later bookings, once the place has filled up and the lights have dimmed. Authentic is a terrible word for foodies to use but very much the case here, as Spanish staff wait on you and you’re very much made to feel that you’re in a solid local joint. Not the place for grand proposals, more for showing a date that you’re not all glitz and can actually pick restaurants for the terrific food rather than fancy pants setting.

The Order

There are the usual Spanish staples on this menu which, whilst well done, could be skipped in order to try the more revolutionary options. It’s a big menu so before you take it on order some Pan Con Tomate to maintain focus and a glass of wine to refresh. The waiters give great advice on the food and drink, take it. Not to be missed is the incredible Cochinilo asado (£8.50), suckling pig with parsnip, sweet potato crisps, apple sauce and lemon sorbet- the hot and cold combo is spot on. The Iberian pork is also a good option, throw

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in a side of cheese and ham croquettas and it’s hearty heaven. Choose from a list of 8 sherries or go for a cool bottle of Nerola (a white Catalan organic wine, £19) to blindsight your date with your atypical wine bravery.

The Game

If you’re going with the local vibe, it would make more sense if one of you actually lived near here (Brixton or Clapham). The food is worth a longer trek but there’s something more seamless about the evening if you are chilling at home beforehand or can easily slope back after. If a warm evening, have post-work drinks in the Grand Union garden and only when it gets dark (9ish) head to the restaurant. If decide to recreate that holiday feeling of dining late, you will have more of a chance of relaxing into romance and winding down from work. Banter with the waiters, mix and match different sherries and feed each other a little food, more in an ‘oh you really must try this way’ than ‘mmm you look sexy eating that pork rind’. Stay until you’re kicked out and head back to nuzzle on a Brixton couch.

The Faults

It’s a little far from Brixton Station if you’re travelling from further afield and perhaps too modern for those in search of a traditional looking tapas joint. However, many will find this a plus point.

Sex Factor

2. It’s a place to feel relaxed in, happy and satiated. Whilst not an overly romantic, moody date setting, you are likely to have bonded by the end of the meal and have had a taster of what regular date nights could resemble further down the line.

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