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Test Driving Bibo Shoreditch - Dani Garcia's first London restaurant

ALTThe calamari doesn't come with alioli - but the kitchen's happy to knock some up for you. 

What do we need to know about Bibo?

This is the first London restaurant from celebrated Spanish chef Dani Garcia. In Spain, Garcia is A Big Deal. His eponymous restaurant in Marbella won a coveted three Michelin stars before the chef decided to close it and focus on more casual fare. Bibo is the net result of that - with branches across Spain, and one in Doha. Now he's opened one in London.

Where exactly is it?

You'll find it in the lower ground of the Mondrian Hotel in Shoreditch (where Red Rooster used to be). It's part of the major redevelopment of the hotel, which has also opened all day spot Christina's on the ground floor and is gearing up to open a rooftop members' club with pool. The nearest tube is Old Street or you could go to Shoreditch overground.

Where should we meet friends for a drink first?

You're spoilt for choice here - there's Swift for cocktails down the road, or Passione Vino for a glass of wine around the corner. At Christina's on the ground floor of the hotel they're big on cocktails on draught which is very handy - or you could head to the bar here which serves up a variety of Spanish cocktails.

What's on the menu?

Bibo is billed as an "open-kitchen tapas bar and an all-day dining room". That means you can come here for breakfast and work your way through the huevos rotos section (the fried eggs are cooked on a griddle at your table before caviar, jamon and truffle are added). Or, you could sit up at one of the high top tables for tapas, or head to the main dining room for a more concerted work through the menu, which is what we did.

Here's what we had:

ALTJamón Iberico croquetas with tomato powder (£12) - ethereally light croquetas with a deep jamon flavour enhanced by using ham stock when making the bechamel.

ALTOxtail brioche (£6) - brioche stuffed with pulled oxtail along with thin mushroom slices, DG sauce and rocket. It's pretty small, but VERY rich so easy to cut in half and share.

ALTRussian Salad (£8.50) - a next-level version of this classic dish featuring tuna belly and topped with fried quail eggs and garlic chips. The must-have thing to order.

ALTIberian pork presa (£16) - served perfectly rare and with an unbilled, but welcome, addition of roast carrots and baby potatoes.

ALTHeirloom tomato salad (£7) - obviously using the best Spanish tomatoes and given extra 'ooomph' with a sauce made from gordal green olives.

What's on the menu for vegans and vegetarians?

Plenty - with a tapas section devoted to vegetarian options, including this:

ALTPan con tomate (£5.50) - one of those simple dishes that you just know if you tried at home, wouldn't taste anywhere near as good as it does here.

Room for dessert?

We nearly didn't until a lady at the table next to us went full When Harry Met Sally over this particular dish...

ALTChocolate mousse for two (£14) - amazingly good mousse topped with a layer of Chantilly cream. 

Summing up:

There's always a worry that with a chef's 'diffusion range' restaurant that you're going to get something rolled out and maybe not as good as you're hoping for. But the good news is that's not the case with Bibo. If you love Spanish food - and who doesn't? - this is a great addition to London's tapas options.

Two weeks in and the restaurant was heaving on a Saturday night, with plenty of Spanish expats here to enjoy Garcia's food. The man himself might not be here, but his team are doing a great job without him.

 

More about Bibo

Where is it? 45 Curtain Rd, Hackney, London EC2A 3PT

How to book: Book online.

Find out more: Follow them on Instagram @bibodanigarcia_uk

 

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