Less desirable than a district line commute
The daily exodus of the over-worked masses from the heart of London to its frayed ends is a familiar transit. The most wrist-slitting journey is on the westbound district line which dodders along at an excruciating pace, such that a switchblade is often the only thing for it. On occasion, a break from this subterranean hell is in order – cue Casa Brindisa, located on the South Kensington stop of the line which shall not be named.
The inability to afford both a travel card and a permanent residence in South Kensington may have you twitching again for the relief of that sharp edge, however eating here can be much more forgiving on your battered ego. Just outside the station are a multitude of affordable restaurants, the Spanish variety offered by Casa Brindisa. In warmer months the al fresco seating is often packed, whilst on this frosty evening the warmth of its capacious innards will do more to drive out the imminent frostbite.
In a victory of timing, the first plates arrive along with the sensation in our toes. The charcuteria selection is an unstinting plate of chorizo, salchichón, lomo and teruel ham, with a generous side serving of spongy bread and olive oil. The cheese selection is more scant, made of timid little triangles of brittle manchego, nutty payoyo, briny blue picos de europa and ermesenda. Accompanying these are blobs of quince, grapes and tomato jam, which augment the mellow cheese with tone and inflection.
Lamb chops are as you would expect, with nothing obviously extraordinary about their preparation, whilst prawns are served swimming in a giddy garlic broth. As headily and aromatically wondrous as the pungent sauce is, less beguiling is the presence of the intestinal tract (poo shoot), which turns initial delight into antipathy. The once revered bottom feeders are plucked out of the soup, replaced with cleaner, less faecal bread.
The well-trodden theme of disappointment is carried into the offal; chicken livers are not the most pleasing of creatures at the best of times, and less so when served luke-warm with unseasoned leaves. Dessert is a Santiago tart of dubious origins (as evidenced by the box it is lifted from), and is a pale imitation of the same dessert at Barrafina. Although service is helpful and prices are low (£20 per person), the glitches in the kitchen are unrecoverable. This flustered commuter would have rather remained on the tube, district line or not.
Tube: South Kensington