Earlier this week I was a guest of one of London’s taste-makers, the ‘self-proclaimed Hispanophile’ Richard Bigg (who runs London’s three Camino restaurants and bars as well as being the co-owner of Brick Lane’s Big Chill bar) for a dinner at his Westferry outlet, Camino Puerto del Canario.
That’s not where our evening started however, as Richard joined us on the Thames Clipper at Embankment pier, with the sherry (bottles of Manzanilla and Amontillado) starting to flow as soon as the engines kicked into life. Conveniently, Camino is located just next door to the Canary Wharf river pier over on the western edge of the Isle of Dogs, so the river service is probably the most convenient (and a rather special) way to get there.
With all the decor in the venue sourced from the home country, this space overlooking the river really does feel like a little part of Spain – if you avert your eyes from the glittering spire of The Shard off on the horizon you could be in a trendy restaurant anywhere from Bilbao to Seville, and that description definitely applies to the food!
Dishes that arrived at our table during the evening included tiny pots of Sopa De Alcachofa (Jerusalem artichoke soup with oxtail and truffle oil), light-as-a-feather Croquetas De Jamon (Serrano ham croquettes), spicy little Pimientos De Padron (sautéed green peppers with sea salt) and one of my all-time tapas favourites, a buttery bowl of Arroz Negro (black callaspara rice flavoured with cuttlefish and squid ink).