Saturday, June 01, 2013

Copa de Cava

Forget Champers, the cava craze is catching on…

Cancel your flight to Spain!  Why would you waste two and a half hours on a plane when you have cava and sunshine right here in the heart of the city?!  (I’m being optimistic on the sunshine bit…)

Copa de Cava is the new kid on the block at Blackfriars with over 28 beautiful bubble-filled Cava’s on the menu and authentic tasting tapas which you wouldn’t find out of place in one of those hidden back alley eateries off La Ramblas.

Entry is through a side door next to Camino San Pablo where the staircase leads down through some rather impressive castle gates and into the discreet basement bar.  I went along with my good friend Sylwi – now nothing against her, but I was slightly disappointed that I wasn’t on a romantic date!  The lighting is brilliant.  Dark, inviting and intimate (no need to touch up your make-up, this place will make you look awesome regardless!), you can sit at the bar beside big barrel tables, or at one of the smaller seating areas by the open kitchen – always nice to see what’s cooking…  (There was also big tables to accommodate larger groups).

Charmingly rustic and with gorgeous arched ceilings and exposed brick wall,, it’s reminiscent of the caves in Catalunya where Cava used to be fermented.  The piece de resistance though, (and impressive it is too) is the glass floor where you can see the thousands of stored cava bottles in the cellar.  (We’d love to find out how you get down there…)

Choose from a selection of Brut, Reserva and Gran Reserva (our lovely waitress Rocio was really knowledgeable when it came to selecting some fizz), and while you soak up the atmosphere and sup from your expertly chilled champagne glass, you can choose from a fabulously Spanish tasting range of tapas.
We ate, and ate, and ate…  But a few of the following dishes stood out; we’d recommend the big fat juicy green olives and the tangy tomato and garlic bread, the selection of cheeses and breads; the scallop, broadbean and black pudding mousse served in an oyster shell and the special of the day which when we visited, was seabass, red mullet and sole.  Not for the faint hearted, the lamb ‘sweetbreads’ were tender and tasty (and enjoyable until we realized exactly what we were eating…) while the highlight was definitely the fillet steak carpaccio with lilliput capers and manchego shavings.

If you’re skeptical about enjoying cava as much as you do champagne, think again, by the 2nd glass, you’ll be converted.  By the 5th, you'll think it's the best drink ever!  The Conde de Haro Brut and the Gramona Gran Reserve 2008 vintage were both delightful, and there’s also 4 fabulous cava based cocktails on the menu – try the Intenso y Profundo with Tanqueray gin, oloroso seco, OJ and Gramona Gran Reserva Brut Nature Cava if you’re unsure which one to sample.  And while you do that, why not treat yourself to a Crema Catulana desert – a combo of cinnamon custard, crispy caramel and raspberry, soooooo gooooood.

With a live DJ on from 6pm until midnight on the weekends, London’s first underground dedicated cava bar is definitely the new craze…  And if you’re a ‘Champagne’ fan, we don’t wanna burst your bubble, but the Spanish sparkler is most definitely catching on…

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