My father’s one food wish in London was to go for another tapas meal – the last time he was here, I took him to Barrafina but this time, wanting to try something a bit different, I turned to the Cambio de Tercio group. Of their four restaurants, I chose Tendido Cero as their menu online had a good balance of both modern and classic tapas dishes and made a booking for dinner. When booking, you choose a block of about 2 hours and they’re pretty strict with it, which can make it difficult to relax. Glad to see my father relaxing though with his sangría!
Not knowing how large the dishes were, we started with a few and then just kept going with the ordering. Boquerones en Vinagre (baby anchovies in sherry vinegar) (£6.50) were brought to us first and the fresh marinated anchovies were delicious. A bread basket also arrived at our table and was filled with diminutive warm bread rolls that we happily ate up.
The Morcilla de Burgos con Tomate (Crispy Burgos black sausage, tomato sauce) (£5.50) that came next didn’t look like much but was absolutely fantastic. The rich morcilla was crisp on the outside, meaty on the inside, and the fresh tomato sauce partnered it well.
Their “Las Nuevas” Patatas Bravas (“The new” spicy patatas bravas) (£7.25) was one of my favourite that night. The potatoes had been carved into little cups that had been fried and then filled with the bravas sauce and mayonnaise. I would have preferred aioli but it was still brilliant without it.
Calamares a la Andaluz (Deep fried squid “a la Andaluz”) (£8.50) were served in strips rather than the usual rings. It was a slight change but even that seemed to make it particularly novel. Of the frying, it was textbook perfect.
Cordero Guisado con Almendra (Lamb casserole, roasted almonds and white wine) (£6.75) required another basket of bread to mop up all the delicious gravy.
My father loved the Chorizo a la Sidra (Spicy chorizo cooked in Spanish cider) (£5.75), which was indeed very good. Heck, I love chorizo in just about anything.
Carrilleras Ibericas, PX, Crema de Patata (Iberian pork cheeks cooked in px wine, potato cream) (£10.75) was also excellent but the small portion size and relatively high price tag still makes me question the value of this dish. Could I tell that these were Iberian pork cheeks as opposed to regular supermarket pork cheeks? Nope.
While their new style tapas were very good, they could not get some of the basics right. The Croquetas de Jamon (Serrano ham croquettes) (£6.75) were fried beautifully but were oversalted.
The Catalan classic of Pan con Tomate y Jamon (toasted bread, fresh tomato and olive oil, with Iberian ham) (£5.75) was terrible with its pureed tasteless tomato and no hint of olive oil flavour – I found myself just picking off the excellent ham and just eating that.
The Tortilla de Patata (Spanish omelette) (£6.00) was the worst offender, being flavourless, undersalted and bizarrely fluffy. This could very well be the worst tortilla in the history of tortillas. We didn’t even finish it.
We were all pretty full at this point but as usual, Blai and I had to split some Chocolate con Churros (£5.50). Luckily, these classic fried treats were spot on, as was the chocolate.
Overall, the meal was a success as my father was happy. For me, I’m more likely to try one of the other restaurants in the chain – perhaps one that only focuses on their more modern tapas. For the price, I would expect all the tapas at Tendido Cero to be made well and a few dishes did clearly disappoint. If you pick well though, you could have a great meal.
174 Old Brompton Road
London SW5 0BA