I love tapas.
I love any kind of sharing, snacky-type cuisines actually. But Spanish tapas will always be my first choice. It’s a reminiscence-thing. Tapas is like my tummy’s gone home!
It was my turn last night to pick the date venue for Gary and I. After getting no results with my TripAdvisor research, I suddenly remembered Carmen. Carmen is a Spanish tapas bar and restaurant in Clapham (right opposite Clapham Common station, next to Bodeans BBQ Restaurant). I’ve walked past it before and have wanted to visit for ages.
I wasn’t disappointed!
We ordered a board of delicate Serrano ham, some bread and olive oil and a bottle of the house red wine to pick at while we (and by we I totally mean I) analysed the menu.
The decor is fab. Yellow and red walls covered in Spanish-inspired artwork and ornaments.
The tables are all quite close to each other, maximising space and giving the place a really friendly, buzzy atmosphere. It was quiet when we first arrived at about 7pm (on a Friday night), with only one other table in the restaurant. But within 40 minutes, every table was full.
They don’t take reservations on Fridays and Saturdays so it’s very much a first-come-first-served kind of thing. They do have a bar where you can also sit and eat or you can go on the waiting list and head out for a drink somewhere on the Common before your meal.
I’d also like to mention that despite how busy it got, the service was faultless. The staff are all Spanish, super friendly and super helpful in explaining menu options.
On their recommendation we went for six dishes to share between the two of us.
Patatas bravas are small fried potatoes with a side of spicy tomato sauce. Gary loves these, so we always get them when we’re out for tapas.
The dish at the front is Carrillera, Spanish pork loin in a delicious tomato and thyme gravy. The meat was so stupidly tender we used a spoon to cut it with and it just fell apart. Gorgeous.
Top left is chorizo al vino, chorizo cooked in red wine.
Right are the croquetas de jamon, Spanish croquettes made with a stiff bechamel sauce mixed with different fillings before being breaded and fried. These are my absolute favourites and I have no shame in saying I ate all six of these cos Gary hates ’em!
Mushrooms cooked in garlic.
We also got a dish of pinchito moruno, skewers of beautifully marinated chicken breast. I have no pics of these cos Gary got to them before I could un-cap my camera but they were super tasty and cooked to absolute perfection.
They also do brunch which I’m super excited to go and try one day!
On the whole I loved Carmen. It’s a little pricey (the whole meal plus wine and tip came to about £65) so it’s probably a restaurant to be saved for special occasions…
But I will most definitely be back!
6 Clapham Common South Side
More date night suggestions in SW London:
Pizza at Franco Manca’s
Tacos at El Patron
Dirty burgers at Dip and Flip!