Brits just can’t enough of Spanish culture, with an estimated 18million of us visiting the Mediterranean country last year. However, this May, you won’t have to wait until your holidays to sample the best of Spain’s entertainment and cuisine.
The second May bank holiday will see Feria de Londres bringing the spirit of Andalusia to the capital. Bernie Spain Gardens on London’s picturesque South Bank will host a three-day long celebration of food, drink, music and dance. As you may know, Andalusia is one of the most popular regions of Spain, featuring resorts and cities such as Seville, Málaga, Marbella and Granada. Feria de Londres is inspired by southern Spain’s spring fairs, which date back to the Middle Ages.
During the festival, entertainers will dazzle in their striking, colourful traditional costumes as they sing, dance and play. Among the entertainment will be flamenco dancers, live bands and DJs. There will be the chance to show off your moves in Sevillana dance lessons to flamenco rhythm workshops. Meanwhile, families can get involved with child-friendly activities, such as face-painting, hair styling, arts and crafts.
Of course, no Spanish festival wouldn’t be complete without their fabulous cuisine. Visitors can tuck into delicious tapas, paella, Iberico ham and much more. Some of Spain’s top food experts and producers will be on hand, offering tastings and samples. When it comes to drink, the famous Tio Pepe will be hosting sherry masterclasses, as well as offering the traditional Andalusian cocktail, the Tio Pepe Rebujito. Guests can also enjoy a range of Spanish tipples, including Iberian beers and regional wines.
- Feria de Londres takes place on 25-27 May 2018. At Bernie Spain Gardens, South Bank, SE1 9PH. Nearest station: Blackfriars, Southwark, Waterloo East or Waterloo. Open Fri 25 4pm-9pm, Sat 26 12pm-9pm, Sun 27 12pm-8pm. Free entry. For more information, visit the Feria de Londres website.
For a guide to what’s on in London in May, click here.
Honor Oak in South East London may not be your first thought of a location for a great tapas restaurant. However, Donde is a wonderful new addition to local culinary scene, bringing a relaxed and enjoyable eating experience. Opened in September 2013 on the site of a former Tapas restaurant, Donde features a bar and restaurant in two adjoining rooms. The restaurant is simple and modern – leaving the focus on the food and atmosphere. Wood chip tables are dotted around with orange and blue chairs against a colourful backdrop of a wall mural featuring Spanish scenes.
Upon arrival, our group of six were shown to a table by the arch separating the bar from the dining area. As it was a Tuesday, we opted for the ‘two Tapas for £7’ offer for many of our dishes (this offer applies daily within different time slots). The menu is split into straightforward sub-sections of meat, fish, vegetarian, cured meat, cheese, patatas (potato) and salad. Although it took us a while to choose what we wanted, we eventually remembered the beauty of tapas is you can just order more as you go along – something not so easy to do in other cuisines. We ordered a bottle of Codorniu Cava, a dry and refreshing bubbly. As well as beer on taps and a selection of spirits, there is also a small, but good value list of cocktails and mocktails.
To start with we ordered bread, olives and aioli. The bread was locally sourced sourdough which was light and tasty – perfect as you never want to eat heavy bread which will fill you up before your mains arrive. The aioli was really good, with the garlic a more subtle flavour than other aiolis I’ve eaten so less detrimental to your breath! We ordered roughly 3 tapas per person to be shared amongst us, as well as the vegetarian platter (briam, pisto empanadilla, manchego & quince, marinated peppers & feta, olives, fine bean, shallot salad, salmorejo and freshly baked local bread). Among my favourite dishes were the sautéed king prawns, marinated in garlic, olive and lemon. They come in their shells so be prepared to make some effort for your food, but were cooked to perfection and were really delicious. The patatas bravas were good, with the spice milder than usual which I actually prefer. The meatballs in a rosemary tomato fritada also went down well with the group. Overall, the experience was good. The service was friendly and the restaurant was a lot more relaxed venue than most. After our meal, we ended up staying to drink another bottle. The food was tasty, well cooked and very good value. I’ll definitely be back.
- Donde, 37–39 Honor Oak Park, Honor Oak, SE23 1DZ. Nearest train: Honor Oak (overground and National Rail). For more information, visit the Donde website.
For a list of all Metro Girl’s bar and restaurant reviews, click here.