I’m all over this Andalucian joint in Fitzrovia — after quaffing a few glasses, you’ll be convinced you’re in Jerez (capital of Andalusia). Modelled on a tabanco (sherry tavern) and from the people behind Spanish success stories, Barrica and Copita, this unpretentious restaurant sets the benchmark for great-tasting tapas and premium sherry served straight from the barrel. I always thought of sherry as the reserve of octogenarians or splashed in your Christmas trifle, yet the Spanish revere it as a classic accompaniment to the region’s food. I ordered a glass of fino on arrival — recommended to me as “it’s light and not dissimilar to a dry white wine.” A couple of sips in and I’m convinced sherry doesn’t deserve its old-fangled reputation. I’m not a total convert however, and a bottle of red Albizu is more my bag.
But it’s the food I want to rave about. Mr Blonde Almond and I settled on the charcuterie board for starter — the obvious choice with a handful of Iberico ham legs hanging at the rear. The goose rillettes were the stand-out morsel on this meaty spread — gorgeously rich with bursts of vinegary capers and gherkins, while the duck and olive terrine hit the spot too.
The menu is a mishmash of tapas, with the usual suspects, from truffled goats cheese to octopus with capers, plus a selection of larger plates — which is where things get really exciting. We went for the pork belly with sweet potato and coriander, with a smearing of gorgeously rich pork gravy. Soft pork and full on flavours — all beautifully tasty. It was the Iberico carrilleras (cheeks) with parsnip and curried carrot though that stood out. Caramelised and tender, it’s the sort of dish you’ll salivate over for days after your visit.
Desserts are surprisingly more straight down the line — we’re talking lemon and crème fraiche tart and ice cream with walnuts and sherry. Both gorgeous.
All in all, you’d definitely go out of your way for Drake’s rustic and chilled-out atmosphere, whether you’re after a quick drink with a side order of olives, or looking to settle in for the night with plate upon plate of triumphant tapas.
Sherry might not be up my street, but if Londoners have any taste, Drake’s fantastic food will have this place packed out each and every night of the week.
££: Small plates from £5-£17.50; larger plates from £9.50-£14.50.
More info: 3 Windmill capers, Fitzrovia. W1T 2HY.