Vinoteca // Farringdon // London

Filled with offices buildings, Farringdon might not be the first place you think of when it comes to choosing a restaurant for the weekend, but you’ll find it’s actually quite a smart move.  With plenty of good places to eat, the weekday punters who crowd the area leave its restaurants deserted, tranquil and relaxing over the weekend. Vinoteca on St. John Street is a perfect example of this. On Saturday, the lights are low, the jazz is on and time flies by with a glass of something nice in your hand.

While having a strong focus on their Spanish wine, they also serve-up some appealing food, which you should definitely hang-about to try.  The menu is seasonal and each dish comes with a wine recommendation.  An appetising starter is the sobrasada, which is a smoky chorizo and tomato spread, on freshly toasted bread. An even better choice is the hand-dived Orkney scallops, served “au naturel” in their shells with a deftly balanced dressing of lemon, chilli and garlic.

Mains wise, the braised ox cheek is a hearty option, with meat that just melts on your tongue. The roasted root vegetables and mash on the side are perfect accompaniments.  Alternatively the bavette is worth a try, char-grilled which makes an incredible difference to the flavour.

Finally, desserts come in small portions, which means you can allow yourself an extra treat. Go for the luxurious chocolate mousse, which you won’t forget in a hurry.

And the cherry on the cake of this perfect dinner is that the waiting staff are warm, spontaneous and always smiling.

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