Sabor: Finally, some Spanish sass
Nieves Barragán Mohacho brought tapas to London and then went on to break the mould at Barrafina over the course of her 10 years as head chef. So it’s no surprise that her first solo spot Sabor is one of the hottest openings this year and I’ve been busy getting to know it.
You’ll find it just off regent street on the tourist trodden route between Hamleys and the Ice Bar; a lovely little safehouse to have in your back pocket. The upstairs Asador is where you go to get seriously personal with suckling pig and a cracking list of big bold wines. Downstairs is a counter where you banter back and forth with the chefs. There’s also a bar, handy given it’s no bookings.
Whether you’re Asadoring or Countering, the menu is refreshingly simple and doesn’t need labourous describing by one of the team… small pleasures, people. There’s something comforting when three out of four dishes are varying sizes of Segovian suckling pig. Not your thing? Don’t run a mile, snacks are umptuous, chips come four ways and daily specials are scrawled on boards. You don’t even need a menu downstairs because the everything’s happening in front of you.
Sabor’s tortilla is the best I’ve ever tried; pre-fried spuds all snuggled up in rich runny yolk. I could wang on about the other must-haves for days but Asador’s paprika-laced spin on pulpo a la Gallega is perversely good. The prized suckling pig, with token trotter no less, is a real treat but even the smallest option needs three people on the signup sheet.
The hardest bit about eating at the Counter is calling it a day. Treat yourself to all the usuals like croquetas, pa amb oli etc; as they're a step above. Arroz con salmonete (like a baby snapper) is Paella for grown-ups. Fish is lovingly grilled and flakes off the bone at the slightest encouragement, and I’ve had various other bits on the side, like the plate black tomatoes with confit artichokes and chorizo-style sausage which is still on my mind.
If you’re just two or three people, go to the counter and nail the lot. Otherwise, make a ressie (you know, like human beings used to do) and smash the Asador. Sabor is a winner whatever your vibe.
Five Very Kerri things about Sabor
- Seemingly simple bits nailed
- All the faves
- The bold wine list upstairs
- Spanish style in Mayfair
- Nieves Barragán Mohacho