Every time I travel to Spain, I get psyched for tapas. But then I inevitably overdo it and learn the meaning of having too much of a good thing. I usually return to London totally uninterested in having tapas ever again.
Luckily, there are long enough gaps between trips to Spain which must be filled with a tapas run or two in London. And my favorite places to get tapas in London, Tapas Brindisa and Moro, are closely related to Brindisa deli, a well-stocked Spanish gourmet shop with locations in Borough Market and Exmouth Market. (Moro gets some of its most delish inventory (i.e., jamon iberico and chorizo) from Brindisa, which just happens to have a location next door to Moro).
So, the trick with Moro is that it’s packed every night of the week, which means that because Jon and I never plan ahead enough to make a reservation, we end up calling the resto at the last minute and getting a really early (7 pm) or really late (10 pm) table. And even at those early or late hours, the tables are full.
Why so popular?
Well, the service is friendly and helpful. The room is equipped with flattering lights (as in, the lights make you look good) and done in warm woods. And the tapas and Moorish dishes are fairly priced (£3 for most tapas; £15-20 for mains). I rarely hit this restaurant trifecta in London, which is why I keep going back!
On Friday, we happily took our early table and gobbled down, among other things, a serving of Moro’s sweet and smoky tortilla espanola (I think the key is the carmelized onions and lots of oil), and a rich, almost-meaty, fava bean soup.
My lamb tagine deserves special mention for being fork tender and flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg, citrus and slivered almonds. Although I was a little sad there was no fluffy couscous to go with the lamb, the bed of roasted pumpkin on which the lamb was served was a nice British touch, all sweet and creamy. The perfect heavy meal for a fall day, though it’s nothing much to look at, I guess:
The one thing that annoys me (there’s always one, isn’t there?) about Moro is how paranoid everyone seems to be that you’ll sit at a table and order only tapas. There’s a long bar with stools for which you can walk in and order just tapas, but once you take a table, there are prominent instructions on the menu explaining that each person at the table *must* order at least a main course, and in case you can’t read, the servers always remind you that you can’t “just” have tapas.
My two cents’ is that if a resto is going to offer tapas on its menu, it should just be prepared for the occasional group that wants only tapas, and even that group is likely to make up for its low-priced food order by drinking up. All the reminders and restrictions relating to ordering more than tapas are a little insulting and more than a little ungracious.