Monday, 26 April 2010

Bar Pepito: a taste of Andalucía in the heart of King's Cross

Firstly, I must declare my unreserved love of Spanish food and wine. The Spanish really know how to enjoy themselves and do so with an infectious energy. I think this has a powerful effect on how they view food and wine. Why have a slow and static meal of two or three courses when you can have a whole series of contrasting little dishes, keeping your tastebuds and mind alert and receptive, moving from bar to bar? Here in the UK we have cottoned on to this and how it is so much more fun, relaxing and perfect for busy modern life.

Maybe with this in mind, Bar Pepito in King's Cross has opened. It's an offshoot of the already popular Spanish restaurant, Camino, but even more hardcore. I use the word 'hardcore' as Bar Pepito is all about sherry. Sadly, we Brits still tend to view sherry as something to politely sip with older female relatives at Christmas from bottles that have gathered dust since the previous year, not as an invigorating pick-me-up after a hard day at work.

Step into Bar Pepito and this all changes – it's as though you've suddenly been transported to Seville or Granada. With a glass of tangy, salty Fino or Manzanilla (from £3.50 for 100ml) and nibbling some sublime hand-sliced pata negra ham (£15.50) or large juicy 'Gordal' olives (£2.25), sherry suddenly seems quite different. There are 15 sherries available by the glass and a tempting range of stylishly served tapas. There's even a little dish of chocolate coated figs (£4.75) – perfect for treacly Pedro Ximenez (one of the few wines that can truly stand up to chocolate). The sherry and food menus work in nicely complimentary ways, with plenty of suggested partnerships.

A feature of Bar Pepito is that it offers themed flights of three 50ml measures (£7.25–12.50). It also has eight sherries available from an Enomatic dispensing machine, starting at less than £1.00. On a recent visit, these were a little too warm (particularly an issue for the drier styles), but that's a minor criticism of such a fun, unique and quality-driven place (although another criticism is the limited opening hours). Bar Pepito is a tiny gem of a place, thankfully with a large outdoor courtyard and you will almost certainly have to stand.

Open: Wednesday to Saturday 5pm until midnight.
Varnishers Yard, The Regent Quarter, King's Cross, London N1 9NL

Square Meal

Bar Pepito on Urbanspoon

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