On location: Dehesa (Soho, London)

On Friday night, I met my friend S from New York for a drink at Dehesa in Soho. It’s a cute little place on a street corner in Soho and is somewhere I have often passed and liked the look of – it has a brown/wood/warm look to it which is so inviting in this chilly London weather (plus an ambitious-looking terrace, given that it is still hovering around 2°C here). However, it always looks so crowded that diving spontaneously into the scrum has never really seemed like an option. However, I finally got organised and booked a table (*), and I am glad I did. We had a bottle of fizz to celebrate S’s return, and worked our way through the tapas selection.

A real bugbear of mine is when restaurants have a limited or uninspired selection of vegetarian food. I think it’s a good way to judge how creative the kitchen are. Well, Dehesa has got it right – lots of dishes for me to choose from and it was clear than a lot of thought had been given to the tapas on the menu. We had amazing fried courgette flowers stuffed with cheese and drizzled with honey, a lovely combination of flavours and textures, the soft cheese and honey complemented by the crisp batter. We also tried the salsify fritters with mushrooms (buttery, cheesy, delicious!) and amazing patatas frites – bronzed and spiced with paprika, served with pungent aioli and romesco sauce.

Given the excellent standard of the food and the convenient location (two minutes off Regent Street near Oxford Circus), I will be coming back here and trying the rest of the menu, and perhaps brave the terrace if Spring ever gets here.

(*) Dehesa operates a “return table” policy, so we had a place for two hours. Normally this is irritating, but as we were popping in for a drink and a light bite, I’m willing to overlook on this occasion. I do not like this policy, but it is almost inevitable when eating in central London.

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