I was fortunate enough to attend the launch party of the fab new tapas bar The Port House on the Strand back in February. It’s a little shocking that I haven’t got round to blogging this already, but if you haven’t been, I recommend you give it a try.
Don’t let its unassuming entrance put you off: the inside is lined with bricks and atmospherically lit with candles like an underground cellar for storing alcohol. Take a seat to one side and line-up the tapas on your table. And the port. Don’t forget the port.
The tapas were very enjoyable – nearly everything I tried was a pleasure to eat. Vegetable tart topped with a poached quail’s egg. Amazing Iberian ham with a deep, nuanced flavour that makes me salivate at the memory of it. Succulent chicken skewers. And some kind of thicker, sweeter version of gazpacho topped with whipped cream (yes really). I actually have no idea what it is – a bit of Internet searching suggests it might have been salmorejo but I’m not entirely convinced. Can anyone help me out here?
Not everything was perfect – the aubergine tempura was bland and oily and too many of the tapas were served up on giant chunks of bread that made the dishes unnecessarily heavy and tarnished the subtleties of the other flavours. I ended up picking the toppings off!
However, overall I was impressed and would definitely head back for a second round of nibbling.
It’s pretty dimly lit inside but I hope that the dark photos below can at least suggest the tasty things that await you there…
The Port House
Where: 417 Strand, London WC2R 0PT (not far from Covern Garden)
When: Mon to Sat 12pm–11pm