Monday, 25 October 2010


The supperclub met again recently. This time we went to Fino; a Hart’s brothers’ restaurant, so fellow to trendy London spots Quo Vadis and Barrafina. I’d been recommended Fino by a friend who said it was the best Spanish food she’d had in town, so I thought we had to try it.

After a going round in circles to find it (the address is Charlotte St but the entrance is Rathbone place) we all got there in the end. The restaurant is on the lower ground floor and is entered by some winding steps and a hallway which overlooks the whole restaurant. The back wall is a long stocked bar which gives the place a brasserie feel. I haven’t spent enough time in Spain to appreciate whether this a cultural nod, but either way it suggests European chic. The clientele is older than I’d expected it to be. We were the youngest in there by at least 10 years I’d say. This accounts for the laid back but but grown up ambiance. Noticeably there is no music, which makes a nice change but definitely adds to the grown-up-ness!

As for the décor, I’m not the biggest fan. Apart from the elegant backdrop of the mahogany bar, the rest of the space kind of feels like a hotel lobby with token Ikea prints. But there are little booths by the bar which you can request which look cosy. You’d need to book ahead to get these. As the restaurant is downstairs it’s pretty dark, but the lighting was warm and intimate which I always love.

Now on to the food… the menu is amazing and not too overwhelming. It’s the kind of place that I can imagine you coming and ordering the same thing every time. I would definitely have everything I ate last time again – it was all delicious! We started with Pan Con Tomate, and then ordered a whole load of little dishes to share and arrive when they were ready. The Ham Croquetas and Chickpeas, Spinach and Smoked Pancetta were the highlights for me. The Meat Platter was yummy, and the Classic Tortilla was delicious as expected. The only thing I wouldn’t recommend is the Chorizo and Potato Chips which were a bit greasy, but maybe that’s personal preference.

All in all our meal was absolutely delicioso with outstanding service. The Maitre'D was really lovely as were all of the waitresses and waiters. The all Spanish contingent obviously adds to the authenticity of the place, and works a treat. We really could have been in Madrid. 

I was surprised at the more formal vibe and older audience of Fino. It didn’t really suit its youthful location, and would be more at home in Chelsea or Belgravia. By the sounds of it Barrafina is its younger hipper counterpart (but FYI you can’t book). However the price was really reasonable at £25 for food including service, and considering the standard this is an absolute bargain. 

Our visit made me want to try the other Hart’s brothers establishments; they’ve hit the food and customer service nail on the head. So if you’re looking for elegant dining and fabulous Spanish food Fino is your place.

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