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Salvador & Amanda (Bar, Restaurant)

Picture of Salvador & Amanda in Bloomsbury, London

1 Vernon Place, Bloomsbury, London, WC1A 2EP
Cuisine: Tapas
Tel: 020 7637 2960 | Email to Salvador & Amanda | Transport: Holborn | Write review

Salvador & Amanda Review

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Best for: curing food envy.

Great: Spanish atmosphere.

Hi, my name is Claire and I suffer from food envy.

It’s a serious condition. Just ask the people who have come for dinner with me in the past.

It doesn't matter who it is - first date, potential new employer, my almost-blind Gran - if they have something on their plate that looks delicious, smells more delicious, and (I am 100% sure) tastes more delicious than the food on my plate, and inevitably they do, I'll reach over and take it.

I used to get asked out for food on a regular basis. Sadly, no more. My boyfriend now positions his dinner plate strategically, one arm hooked around the dish while he shovels food quickly into his mouth with the other.

But there is a cure for people like me that I discovered recently: tapas restaurants.

You order lots of plates to the table and you share everything. So it was with a light heart and a spring in my step that I visited Salvador & Amanda, a Spanish-inspired tapas restaurant in Bloomsbury.

There’s a big menu on offer, and thankfully so. When ordering tapas, you need to keep in mind the fact that the plates you order are smaller than normal – the average size of a starter – and you’re expected to order about seven or eight dishes. Fine by me. Fancy that: a restaurant that encourages sharing AND ordering lots of food! Sublime.

The plates trickle to your table slowly, turning up one after the other, sometimes in pairs, so that you are on a continuous delicious eating conveyor belt.

Grilled bread topped with tomato and olive oil (somewhat soggy), was closely followed by prawns pan-fried with chilli and garlic (slightly overcooked), cod with samphire and cockles (tasted of the sea, my personal favourite dish of the evening), lamb skewers with piquillo peppers (deliciously succulent) and asparagus served with Serrano ham and a poached egg (wonderful salty ham with a less impressive undercooked egg). We ate to keep up, to keep space on the table.

Occasionally the dishes would overlap so that we could dip the tomato-covered bread into the prawn juices, smearing chilli and oil onto the bread before shoving it you know where.

We jostled for dish space, sharing equally when the other was looking and not so equally when the other was concentrating on another dish. Granted, I still need to learn how to share but blame that on my parents for only having one child.

Some dishes hit the mark, others didn’t quite make it. But that’s what makes tapas so attractive. The plates are so small that it’s worth taking a risk on something you may or may not like or something you haven’t tried before.

So what if the bruschetta is soggy? The succulent and intensely fishy dish of cod and cockles makes up for it. Don’t like something you ordered? Shove it across to your partner and take more of what you like.

With this many plates in front of me, plus the invitation to dig in on every dish I could see, I hardly noticed the trendy, slick décor or anything else for that matter until the final flecks of yolk had been licked from my greasy fingers.

High chairs hug the edge of the bar where people sat with three or four plates between them, sipping from glasses of wine and chatting. Too many people crowded around the high tables, sitting closer than necessary, leaning over each other to eat from dishes on the opposite side. No one complained about people pinching each other’s food. It was the done thing.

And this was when it occurred to me: this restaurant is filled with people like me, who have to suffer no longer with uncontrollable food envy. Everything on the table was theirs for the taking. And take it they did, to the backdrop of Spanish/English music, accompanied by cold, crisp wine and finished with shots of Petron.

This is my kind of place.
...read more

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Venue ID: 23610

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Loved

"Hi guys, I come here with my friends and have very good time. I like your place very much and is very good times. I come back when I can soon. Thank you very much." Which venue is this?

Hated

"Dreadful pub, run by people who have zero idea about hospitality or running a pub. Upon arrival we sat in the back garden that only had one other table occupied , when we tried to order off the lunch menu..." Which venue is this?

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