With the multitude of Spanish tapas restaurants across London, you do wonder how new restaurants can bring an element of surprise to such a popular cuisine. Encant manages to deliver this and more, every dish feels innovative and a breath of fresh air. Careful thought is given not just to the ingredients but also to the receptacle the food is served in.
They have just launched what must be the best value tasting menu in town: 7 courses with a glass of cava and coffee at £24 per person for a minimum of 2 people during lunch time everyday. It has a fine balance between healthy tasting dishes and ones which are more indulgent and rich tasting. The Galician seaweed salad with piquillo pepper vinaigrette is that rare breed which is nutritious tasting and still highly desirable. The dish does feel rather Japanese in construction, no doubt inspired from chef/patron, Victor Garvey’s time working at a reknowned worldwide Japanese restaurant.
Grilled aubergine and goats cheese croquetas had a great creamy texture, with the aubergine brilliant at soaking up the flavours from the goats cheese and is served on a glistening silver plate with crystallised honey on top to add a degree of sweetness.
The well-balanced menu does contain plenty of finely devised vegetarian dishes, the poached duck egg is carefully and delicately prepared with strong flavours coming from the truffle and the ingredients soaked invitingly into the smoked potato or you can dip it with the grilled bread.
A potentially rather standard salmon rulada is made beguiling with pacharan marination, which is a sloe-flavoured liqueur commonly drunk in Basque country. The addition of crispy sweet potato, red onion escabeche and wasabi aioli elevates the dish from the good to the great.
The roasted quail is created lollipop style and wrapped in crispy pancetta with syrupy, punchy flavours from Pedro Ximenez demi glace and is served in a cute bird’s nest shaped bowl. Interestingly when we wanted to order a glass of Pedro Ximenez for a dessert wine, we were advised the Jose Pariente, Sauvignon Dulce instead which was less syrupy and meets in the middle between an ultra sweet dessert wine and a classic Sauvignon wine.
We were offered the dulce de leche mousse with crystallised honey and candied ginger which was thankfully light and inviting after having tried 6 courses prior to dessert time.
There are not many London venues that promote a tasting menu for their lunch service and this is one you should definitely consider as an alternative to the over-saturated bottomless brunch offerings.