Dehesa is a charcuterie and tapas bar which draws on the cuisines of both Spain and Italy. Not so surprising when you consider the tradition of Antipasti and cured meats in Italy. Dehesa opened in January 2008 and is the sister restaurant to the highly regarded Salt Yard. But what is a Dehesa? It’s a wooded area in Spain which is home to the Ibérico pigs, famed for their hams.
This small restaurant presents the acceptable face of rustic. Wooden tables still retain a refined edge when garnished with Prawns a la Plancha with Saffron Potatoes and glasses of light fino sherry. The whole hams on the counter add to the ambiance which is more reminiscent of similar establishments in Barcelona or Madrid than just around the corner from Liberty’s.
Anchovies, almonds and caperberries started our lunch. And indeed the aforementioned fino was our choice of “beverage”, as our American friends would charmingly describe our libations. We were joined by suited regulars as well as a few Japanese tourists. No table reservations here so those in the know come early. Platters of wafer-thin ham were unsurprisingly popular although my preference has always been for the cooked tapas. This is grazing food but you’ll not leave hungry. Order a plate of this, a little of that, try the Padrón peppers – these innocent little vegetables are for the most part mild but there are a few which are unexpectedly fierce.
We chose Salt Cod Croquetas with Romesco sauce. This is a common tapas dish but shouldn’t be overlooked. The fish has a particular and distinctive taste which I have always found appealing. Salt cod is favoured throughout Spain but also in Southern France. It’s laborious to prepare at home so take advantage when someone else has done the work. This is the finest of comfort food.
Ham Croquetas are made from the last cuts of whole hams. These were exceptional in having a considerable amount of cured meat inside, not the usual sparsely-distributed fine shreds more often associated with this dish. It’s a tapas-bar staple, and unbeatable when done well.
Chorizo a la Plancha offered nuggets of well-flavoured sausage. The red paprika-infused oil cried out to be mopped with a chunk of country bread.
Courgette Flowers with Monte Enebro and Honey were delicate and sweet with a salty tang from the goat’s cheese. A classic and classy dish made from young vegetables fried in a light batter.
There are puds aplenty at Dehesa and there are wine pairing suggestions, but we chose to stick with the savouries. Perhaps I should say that we opted for both sweet and savoury in the guise of three Manchegos with membrillo. The cheeses were of different ages, textures and flavours and made for a fascinating tasting platter along with the cubes of quince jelly.
Dehesa offers small and varied dishes of delicious foods which are ideal for sharing. Visit with friends and order three dishes each. Some cheese, a plate of ham, a couple of fish dishes, perhaps some grilled lamb. If you have chosen your companions with the same care as Dehesa chooses its ingredients then a perfect evening will be assured.
Opening Times: Tapas
Mon – Fri: 12 – 3pm / 5 – 11pm
Sat: 12 – 11pm
Sun: 12 – 5pm
Charcuterie, Cheese and Bar Snacks are served all day.
Brunch specials available
Sat: 12pm – 3pm
Sun: 12pm – 5pm
25 Ganton Street, London W1F 9BP
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7494 4170
Visit Dehesa here
Restaurant review by Chrissie Walker © 2018