Packed. On a Tuesday night. The Recreation is priced and positioned in such a way that it bears repeated visits, but the raging success of this bustling ‘bistro-bottle shop’ is really down to the experience of its three owners.
Restaurant manager Joe Durrant and sommelier Mark Protheroe (Grossi Florentino) are steeped in old-world hospitality, while chef Steven Nelson’s long stints at Jacques Reymond and Bistro Gitan earned him a reputation for robust, flavoursome food.
That’s what you get at The Recreation, too, with dishes including barbecued free-range chicken with lemon cream, expertly grilled duck breast with baby turnip, and cracking pig trotter croquettes. The black pudding and pear tarte Tatin is an unlikely combo that really rocks the sweet-savoury boat.
Protheroe knows how to match Nelson’s fare with the perfect drop and Durrant will make sure you are well served, even with a lot of wine bottle boxes around your feet.
Yes, it can get rowdy, but it only takes one visit to realise this could be everyone’s dream local.
It’s 15 years since chef Frank Camorra turned a dismal, graffiti-scribbled corner of Hosier Lane into a pumping Spanish tapas bar. And far from lying on its laurels, Movida circa 2018 looks to be firing on all cylinders.
Well-drilled staffers patrol the packed-to-the-rafters space, while the hardworking kitchen punches out all the old favourites: the artisan anchovy on a crouton with smoked tomato sorbet; the spinach and manchego croquettes. But new additions to Movida’s ‘ raciones’ list up the excitement. Pork neck with clams is a great surf ’n’ turf combo, the meltingly tender meat benefitting from a slow braise in white wine, fennel and jamon. Equally inspired is Camorra’s bountiful union of roasted red emperor fillet and Spring Bay mussels.
The compact drinks list will have you exploring every corner of the Iberian peninsula, and if your tipple of choice is sherry, make sure you match that dark glass of La Goya manzanilla with Movida’s famous chocolate and churros. Some things never change.