Who would’ve guessed that above the hustle and bustle [perhaps too much hustle and bustle), and steps away from Tottenham Court Road, is a restaurant that feels like it is a million miles away. This restaurant provides an escape from the Central London madness with a lovely experience, great food, and amazing views.
Cavo Restaurant, opened for just a few months, has sealed and dealed itself as the place to go for those in the know. While the entrance is not very obvious and hard to find (behind the brand new Now building), once it’s found and you walk in you will be transported to a place that’s unique in every way.
We were looking for a unique experience when we booked their Pinxtos, Paella and Sangria brunch on a mild weekend afternoon. We were very lucky as they sat us on the outdoor terrace where the breeze was mild and the views were stunning. The surroundings were lush, greenery around the terrace, and with warm, muted colored furniture. It’s very relaxed, warm and a very spacious space, where it was nice to dine al fresco.
The Sangria was far superior to any I have had in the past, and my dining companion agreed, though it was her first time having it! It was fruity, sweet and deceptive as it didn’t taste winey at all – more like a fruit drink with a mostly strawberry flavor, but absoutely superb as we sipped slowly on our empty stomachs. Then the food started flowing.
Pinxtos – what are they? Well, they are small snacks (exactly like tapas), and we were treated to seven of them as part of the brunch meal. And keep in mind they are unlimited so you can have as many as you want. From best to worst, with two of each item, we were given: Wild Mushroom Croquettes with black truffle – while the truffle didn’t offer much value the moist mushroom inside a crust was a warm explosive flavor in our mouths. It was divine and perfect, and of course I ordered two more. Crispy Lamb Shoulder – a josper apricot adorns the top but it’s the lamb that is the highlight – very moist and tender, and perfectly sized. Gilda – Olives, Anchovies and Dried tomato (with a jalapeno which is not listed on the menu) is a nice diverse taste, but it’s the olive that wows. It is wet and moist and tastes so unlike any other that you’ve been served in any Italian restaurant. The olive must be sourced from a special place because it tastes unique and special. Olive Pate – with Balsamic Pears which were a nice decoration on top giving this Pinxtos a nice color, overall it was a nice tasting dish on the palette, with a different sort of olive taste – a winner. Tortilla de Patatas – with Manchego (cheese – adorned on top) and coquito pepper. A nice tortilla but nothing special, and it was a bit dry and not warm, perhaps prepared with the other Pinxtos earlier in the day and left to wait for hungry diners. Piquillo Pepper – pepper on top of tuna on top of bread. This too – the tuna was dry and the bread on the bottom was not crunchy as it should’ve been, and this Pinxto didn’t stand out. Grilled Aubergine – with Varmesan cream and Harrisa was quite enjoyable, and while aubergines are not unique in any way, the dish was nice but plain, and it was also obvious that this was pre-prepared. And lastly, the Pinxto Josper Morunos – Spanish Chicken Skewer – yes basically chicken on a skewer – a dish you can find anywhere in practically every Mediterranean restaurant in London, was cold, tasted old, and we couldn’t eat it. My advice to the restaurant – get rid of this dish and perhaps include a chorizo-based Pinxto.
After a fairly decent Pinxtos experience we were absolutely delighted that when the paella dish came it exceeded our expectations, While there are several choices (chicken, vegetable or seafood), we opted for the beef paella (solomillo de ternera), and we were not disappointed. Every bite was delicious making us want more and more. Topped with artichokes hearts and a burnt lemon which we recommend to squirt all over the dish, with clumps of aioli that gave the paella that extra flavor to make it wonderful. With a tomato base, soaked in meatstock, and with a smoked paprika flavor in the background, we devoured the whole thing, with the portion being perfect for two people. Whether you order the chicken, seafood, beef or vegetable, we are sure they all will be delicous.
And to top off we had the dessert which was part of the menu – the Basque Cheesecake. It was typical of the region where it comes from, and it had a good balance of cream and sweetness, heavy but not too much, and a slice not too big. The strawberry cooli on the side was a nice touch, and there was powered sugar sprinkled around the cake, but luckily none on the cake itself. Yummy! The coffee is nespresso if that is your bag, though you are welcome to order more sangria if the one carafe was not enough (we had one carafe which was enough for both of us). Two hours later our time was up (yes, two hour time slots are given to brunchers), our tummies were full, photos taken, bill paid and we were grateful and felt priviledged to experience a meal at Cavo and to discover that there is a whole entire indoor dining area on the other side of the floor! We will definitely be back to try the regular menu, and/or perhaps their xmas festive menu – it all looks so delicious.