This is a bit like "Mexican" food - very tasty, but possibly unrecognisable to a Spaniard. Last night we were discussing options for dinner and decided that if we were going to have a bottle of wine (in an effort to reduce calorie intake we aren't drinking alcohol during the week, unless we are at a restaurant) it should be a good one. So we went up the road to Salud where they have a cellar of very old Spanish wines at extremely reasonable prices.
In the past when we have been to Salud, we've erred by ordering a couple of tapas to start, and then not been able to do justice to the massive main courses. This time we decided to order just some tapas and pace ourselves.
The thing that struck me immediately (with my 5 days in Spain expertise) was how much bigger the portions were than the tapas in Spain. We ordered 7 dishes and we really should probably have had 5.
The fried calamari was lovely - so tender it was almost like boiled egg. The boquerones were also very good, but piled in a huge mound over shredded lettuce it was just too much. Pollo al ajillo wasn't as good as the one I made the other week. Excellent grilled sardines. Delicious chorizo cooked in wine. Fat garlicky mushrooms. A whopping plate of serrano jamon, a little dry and too thickly sliced. All stuff that you would find in bars in Spain, but somehow not quite as it would be done there - I think all of the garlic was ready chopped from a jar, for one thing.
Anyway, a very pleasant meal with a lovely bottle of wine. And a fascinating floorshow - the only other occupied table contained a pair of frumpy middle-aged women who discussed very loudly their roles as the sexpots of Rickmansworth. You wouldn't have thought they'd have it in them, but men bang on their windows every night. Fascinating eavesdropping.