Thursday, 25 November 2010

Morito review Spanish Tapas Exmouth Market - tiny bar packs a punch

Address: 32 Exmouth Market,
London EC1R 4QE
Tel: 020 7278 7007
Nearest Tube station: Angel

Ratings (out of 5 *)
Service charge: 12.5%
Taste: ****
Service: ***
Ambience: ***
“Hey, it’s empty!” Wife was gesturing towards Morito, which seldom is during lunchtimes. These days we are frequent visitors to Exmouth Market. Someone I knew mentioned just the other day that Exmouth Market, with its selection of bars, cafes, eateries and restaurants, is like a mini-London to her. Well, I won’t go so far to say that but that’s not far from the truth either.

Anyway, our attempt to have lunch at Caravan was again thwarted when we popped into Morito that afternoon. Morito, a tapas bar spin-off from Moro along Exmouth Market, is a small setup. Other than a bar counter where food is prepared on the spot, there are a handful of small tables. We were there on a weekday lunchtime and noted that Morito accommodated only a single seating despite the smallish nature of each tapas dish. Well, customers tend to will away their lunch hour deep in conversation over cups of coffee.


The menu was freshly printed and still piping hot when an Edward Norton lookalike took our orders. Considering the size of Morito’s kitchen, the menu was rather extensive. After our experience at Madrid’s tapas bars, we learnt that the portion of each tapas dish can vary quite a bit so we were a bit hesitant filling up our orders.


The salt cod croquettes (£4) was an apt starter though slightly underwhelming. I thought that the slab of mayo that came with it was unnecessary and served only to overwhelm the subtle taste of salt cod. In fact, anything with mayo would end up tasting of only mayo and very little else. Stay away from the mayo if you are ordering this.


We like the lamb chops (£6) quite a bit though the cumin can be somewhat overpowering at times. Other than that, the meat was aromatic, tender and juicy. It’s one of those dish that you would have to eat with your fingers and lick them clean thereafter.


Next up was puntillitas or baby squid (£6.50). The simple fry up battered dish was one of our favourite tapas and we make it a point to order it whenever possible. Morito did it wonderfully well. Instead of thick caking the squid with batter, the tapas turned out lighter than expected with the squid slightly exposed in some parts. A sprinkle of sea salt and a dash of lemon did the trick for us.


Quail's eggs and jamon (£4) was another interestingly presented tapas. While the quail’s egg didn’t bring much to the table, the aged jamon added depth to the taste.


Morito serves its tap water, coffee and even the Malaga raisin ice-cream (£2.50) in the same glasses. Nothing wrong with that really. Clean and simple, just the way I like it. While the coffee taste in the ice-cream was unmistakable, there was this light hint of alcohol in the mix that made it a good round up to the light lunch.


Despite having its kitchen just behind its bar, Morito’s ventilation works surprisingly well. So there’s no need to worry about leaving the place smelling like a barbecue pit. Also, bar and window counter seat makes it suitable for lone customers as well. That said, we left the place feeling still feeling a bit peckish. Though Morito might be the place to have a small bite, you might wish to look elsewhere if you are looking for something more substantial.


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Krista said...

How sad am I to have left London before this little gem opened? Right down the road from my old flat! You're making me homesick...

C K said...

Well, if you decided to drop by your old haunt...