Eating hand to mouth

From the delicate French nibbles of Mayfair’s La Petite Maison, to the cicchetti of much-lauded Italian eatery, Polpo, tapas-style eating is on the rise — and we’re not talking stodgy cubes of potato, over-fizzy lager and strips of greasy jamon.

One of the most recent offerings is Pinchito — a contemporary take on the traditional tapas bar, set just off Bloomsbury’s Bedford Square. The newest member of the Pinchito family (the first branch opened in the city back in 2008), the bar-meets-restaurant serves up a range of old favourites including tender baby eels, skewers of springy chicken and meaty gambas al ajillo, swimming in garlicky oil.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

The only misfire came in the form of some spongy calamari, which tasted vaguely of mothballs, but danger was averted with a plate of meltingly tender hangar steak and a dessert of chocolate con churros —which topped the meal off in heart-clogging form.

For reasons known only to ourselves we booked in during the restaurant’s barren post-lunch, pre-dinner period, but the bright-eyed, all-Spanish staff kept the atmosphere upbeat. With its stripped down interior, open kitchen and experimental cocktail list (including an array of sherry-based concoctions), Pinchito makes a welcome addition to the imposing surroundings of Bloomsbury.

PINCHITO@