We've dined all over SW6 in the past few months, but I suddenly realised we'd rarely gone beyond Parsons Green. Assured by good friends that there was indeed fine dining further along the New Kings Road, we booked in at Tendido Cuatro, on the basis of the warmest of recommendations.
And we were not disappointed.
So whilst I would never pretend to be a connoisseur of fine Spanish cuisine, I did live in sunny Spain for a year, and ate enough tapas that I pretty much haven't been able to enjoy so-called Spanish restaurants back in the UK since. Although, my fears were allayed by the fact that Tendido Cuatro was owned by the same group as the much-famed Cambio de Tercio on the Brompton Road.
Although the front is rather ignominious, the low-lit interior in deep reds, with Picasso-eque paintings on the walls is welcoming, with a sophistication belied by the exterior. The staff, in authentic Spanish style, are friendly and accommodating, and judged the crowd perfectly, swiftly bringing over the vino once we were seated. A raucous evening had commenced.... Indeed, our lovely waitress had the grace to laugh at some fairly awful jokes on the part of our gentleman friends, and we had a hilarious evening.
The menu is pretty extensive, but not so much so that it is baffling. Although, all the tapas looked so great we did find it pretty hard to choose. Tendido Cuatro had added quite a cosmopolitan twist to some traditional dishes like Patatas Bravas, and had been a more adventurous with dishes like the Caramelos de Queso, con Gambas en Salso de Vinagre de Frambuesa y Mango (sweet and cheesy prawn parcels - much more delicious than they sound!).
The dishes were beautifully presented, and on the whole came out in well-timed succesion, although we did wait a while at the end for our last dish: grilled chicken marinated in lime and olive oil. Though, once we tasted it, all was forgiven! Our pan con tomate, traditional Catalin garlic and tomato bread, also had to be requested twice, but arrived very promptly after that.
In the end we went for:
- PAN CON TOMATE A LA CATALANA
Toasted bread, fresh tomato & olive oil “a la catalana"
This was really lovely, but very garlicky. Luckily, that's just the way I like it!
-CROQUETAS CREMOSAS DE JAMON CON SALSA DE TOMATE & TOMILLO
Serrano ham & béchamel croquettes with tomato and thyme sauce
A Spanish staple, done beautifully but with a the tomato and thyme sauce representing a nice twist that I haven't seen tried in Spain.
-CALAMARES “FRITOS” O A LA ”PLANCHA”
Deep fried or griddled “fresh squid
Another staple. Tendido Cuatro had stuck to the classic way of serving this, but what else can you really do with this? Not too greasy, with the garlic mayo (more garlic! No snogging for me that evening!) just right.
-TORTILLA ESPAÑOLA DE PATATA, CON HUEVO DE CORRAL & CEBOLLA
Spanish omelette (free range egg, potato & onion)
Another Spanish staple, and I must admit it's not usually my favourite. This one was pretty tasty!
-POLLO DE CORRAL A LA PLANCHA CON MARINADO DE LIMA
Grilled Chicken breast, (free range) marinated in lime & olive oil
It's a shame this arrived late, as it really was amazing. A perfect zingy antidote to the many creamy, and mayonnaise-y dishes we'd ordered alongside it.
-CHIPS DE BERENJENA CON MIEL DE ROMERO
Aubergine chips with rosemary honey
These were really delicious. I love a sweet sauce with things, as you can probably tell from many of our selected dishes. Beautifully presented in a little stick, and just the right consistency: not too greasy, not over-cooked nor dry.
Traditional stew of white beans, chorizo, pork from Asturias
Again, this is something I haven't always enjoyed in Spain, due to their habit of boiling in a lot of chunks of lard. Luckily, the Tendido Cuatro version was slightly more slimline, and a million times more delicious. Very smooth on the tongue, earthy and filling.
-CARAMELOS DE QUESO, CON GAMBAS EN SALSA DE VINAGRE DE FRAMBUESA & MANGO
Soft cheese and prawns “caramels”, raspberry vinegar & mango sauce
Personally I enjoyed these, and they were an interesting experiment. However, I do love sweet sauces with mains, and I remembered some gorgeous bechamel and prawn parcels I had eaten in Spain. Opinions were mixed on these, but well worth a try if you want to indulge in some treats you won't have tried before.
Spicy “patatas bravas “ (Potatoes)
Another Spanish staple, given a fantastic Tendido Cuatro makeover. The spicy tomato sauce is hidden inside the potatoes, and they are topped with a creamy sauce. We ordered double rations of these as they were so good!
-CHORIZO DE SALAMANCA A LA BRASA
Char grilled spicy chorizo from Salamanca