It had been a long, hard day, with a rather lovely lunch at Michael Neave, then a nerve-fraying Tottenham game, so by the time dinner came around, I was in need of something soothing and hearty. I toddled towards Rafael’s, which I’d mistakenly thought was an Italian, but is in fact a Spanish restaurant.
Its snug basement dining room has seating for just a chosen few. Things were quite quiet, this evening, so I had the considerable pleasure of sharing much banter with both the friendly waitress and Rafael, himself, when he wasn’t in the kitchen preparing lovely dishes for me.
The menu was a chalkboard, which kept things refreshingly simple. Choices are ever changing, and based on fresh, local produce.
As usual, I checked what the soup of the day was, and was immediately hooked in by talk of potato, asparagus and dill. That sounded like tremendous fun. I took a recommendation on the main course, with the Rafael choosing the lamb shank for me.
We had a marvellous little exchange where I asked for two small glasses of complementary wine, which resulted in the waitress asking the kitchen whether it was normal for customers to ask for free wine. Ah, the wonders of the English language with its complimentary and complementary fun.
Soup arrived and looked nicely rustic. It was an absolute delight, with a velvety potato potage deeply flavoured with asparagus, and aromatic dill dancing through it. I immediately asked Rafael how it was prepared, and made a series of mental notes for future reference. Truly, it was an exceptional soup.
The lamb shank main course was rather fine, too. As tender a piece of lamb as you’re likely to find, it fell of the bone with ridiculous ease. The sauce was suitably deep and satisfying.
I really didn’t want the evening to end, so I indulged in dessert, which proved to be decadently chocolatey. The tempering of the thin chocolate wrap, around a central core of goo, was right on the money.
Things did eventually draw to a conclusion, leaving me to waddle home with a full belly and a broad grin on my face.
So overall, Rafael’s was seriously good. Rarely have a spent a more enjoyable evening as a solo diner. The quality of the food on offer was first rate, with excellent ingredients prepared with considerable care and attention. This is the type of place that MJ would just love, so I look forward to bringing her for a visit, soon.
Blythe scores Rafael’s
4.5/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
3.5/5 for setting
4/5 for service
giving an overall 16/20
Today’s quester was: Blythe
I ate: potato, asparagus and dill soup; lamb shank; chocolatey dessert
I drank: sauvignon blanc, merlot, water
I wore: broad grin
Total bill: £36.35