In the sad week that both England and Spain were dumped out of the Copa del Mundo and one of the best songwriters ever, Gerry Goffin, died at 75, we had a celebration – a birthday. Not a major one but perhaps a toe-dip into the other side of life’s pond.
Apart from the odd curry we’re not in the habit of going to restaurants, but on a glorious sunny day in London we threaded our way through the Dickensian, dark-bricked backstreets of Farringdon towards Moro. To prove our lack of culinary adventure – and while also owning one of Sam and Sam Clark’s Moro cookbooks – we didn’t know this place first chopped its chorizo 17 years ago. The couple had spent time driving around Spain and Morocco in a campervan learning about authentic dishes and cooking methods.
S’s face lit up when she realised we hadn’t walked a mile to visit a Pizza Hut. Table chosen and surrounded by walls of white and green – the exact green of the flag of Andalucia – we unashamedly copied the two people next to us, for the starters at least. It was at this stage we tasted arguably the best baba ghanoush ever – beautifully smokey from being on a grill and a fat cigar-sized piece of chorizo. We could have eaten ten in a row. The waitress fetched them from Moro’s sister tapas establishment next door, Morito.
We played the ‘guess what I’m choosing’ game and got it right: Grilled mackerel fillet with anchovies, tomato and anis rusk salad; and wood-roasted pork with pisto and pine nuts. The fish wrapped in vine leaves was amazing. The pork took the silver medal prize (nothing will beat pork belly with an inch of crackling).
The waitress explained the food, knew the wine and sherry menu and recommended a perfect white to go with the food (we later chose a bellota liquor which didn’t exactly slip down). The delicious olive oil at Moro we believe is from Las Alpujarras where Sam and Sam Clark own a property.
Other main dishes on the menu included skate with cucumber chips, chilli and dill yoghurt; and chicken with panceta, lentils, peas and broad beans. Menu starters included: cuttlefish, barley and samphire salad with harrisa; and salt cod with broad beans, mint and fried lemons.
For dessert we chose the dark chocolate and apricot tart to ‘share’ (S had 95% of it).
We’re not food critics but do know when we’ve had a great meal. It was more than a year ago we visited Copita tapas bar in Soho, London and we highly recommend both places – and they’re affordable.
Over the years, staff from Moro have visited Andalucia to learn about the area, its produce and ways of cooking. If only there was a Moro just down the road in Órgiva it would indeed be a lasting treasure not just a moment’s pleasure (© almost Gerry Goffin).
© con jamón spain