tapas brindisa makes me wish i earned more. it’s not that it’s horrifically expensive but so much of the fabulous charcuterie, cured fish and cheeses that they serve are presented so simply i struggle to justify the cost. c’mon, £12.50 for a plate of ham? cheese and toast for £10.25?
ok, it’s a plate of hand carved jabugo iberico ham. or a selection of regional spanish cheeses served with that toast. i know all about the importance of impeccable ingredients and i’m sure they are delicious. but that’s the point, i don’t know! i just can’t persuade myself to order those dishes no matter how much i fancy them!
so, i end up sticking to the food where they apply their skill in creating and cooking something rather than just plating it up.
things like chickpea and chorizo stew (with a satisfyingly smokey undertone), spinach tortilla, padron peppers (i’ve yet to get a really hot one but love the russian-roulette nature of the dish) or marinated anchovie and piquillo pepper salad with walnut and cabernet sauvignon dressing (a superbly balanced combination of flavours, if only it was larger so i wouldn’t mind sharing quite so much!).
it’s not ideal but that’s the way it is. unless a pay rise is forthcoming and carries me over the hesitation-hurdle!
there is however, one item on the menu that will always keep me coming back to tapas brindisa, regardless of my bank balance - their large gordal olives with olive oil and orange. i first tried these almost a year ago and they instantly became an “oh my god i’ve never eaten anything so fabulous” food. and they remain so in my memory.
sadly, on my last visit to they didn’t have any so i had to make do with stocking up on gordal olives (which are brine-cured and have a very distinctive flavour) at the brindisa stall at borough market and attempt to make my own.
the result was very good but then the olives are so fabulous i think you’d struggle to make something that wasn’t delicious. i don’t remember if the originals have fennel as part of their flavouring but it works well.
orange stuffed olives
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 tablespoon of your favourite extra virgin olive oil
1 orange, segmented so all pith is removed
15-20 pitted gordal olives
dry-toast the fennel seeds then crush lightly in a pestle and mortar. mix with the olive oil and orange segments and leave to marinde for half an hour.
cut the orange segments into pieces that you can stuff the centre of the olives with them. drizzle the stuffed olives with the marinade, discarding any leftover orange. serve.
18-20 southwark st, borough, london se1 1tj
telephone - +44 207 357 8880