Eat this: Chiringuito

Inspired by Spain's all-day bars, this new addition to the London scene has a menu influenced by tapas and pinchos, as well as Latin American and Mexican flavours.

8 August 2018
Latin AmericanMexicanrestaurantssharing platessnackingspanish
  • The Gist: Hispanic and Latin American flavours via sharing plates and pinchos
  • The Chef: Marco Padilla
  • Location: Bethnal Green Museum Gardens, Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 9PA
  • Food in 5 words: Spanish, Peruvian and British mishmash
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How did we get here?

Chiringuito is the passion project of a local East Londoner Alex Dehayen, who has converted a derelict public toilet block, next to Bethnal Green tube station, into a contemporary all-day bar.

Peruvian head chef Marco Padilla has created a menu inspired by the sharing ethos of tapas and pinchos – a bitesize snack that is served on sticks and typically eaten in Northern Spain – although there are more substantial eats, including pizzas and large plates like roast pork belly in pisco and beer sauce with red Peruvian chillies.

The overall menu is reminiscent of tapas bars in Barcelona, featuring classic Spanish dishes such as Padron peppers, patatas bravas (cubes of tomato in a spicy tomato sauce) and gambas al ajillo (prawns with garlic), but also has Mexican and South American influences.

What’s different about it?

It’s London’s first chiringuito, according to Dehayen. Loosely translated from Spanish, a chiringuitois a relaxed, informal enterprise (usually a bar) selling drinks, tapas and small plates – often in a temporary structure. But this addition is permanent.

The venue design takes its cues from Spanish influences: the ground floor features a peseta-topped bar and azure mosaic tiles, reflecting the typical marine setting of a traditional chiringuito. The rooftop features a walk-over skylight and is framed by the surrounding trees.

The menu stretches from the Catalan capital of Barcelona, where the cocas (Catalan flatbreads) originate, to Mexican influence in the fish taco. South American signatures such as seabass ceviche are present in the Peruvian leche del tigre (citrus-based spicy marinade).

Chiringuito’s appearance coincide with the opening of another Catalan spot, Tast, which opened in Manchester.

Dehayen wanted to bring something new and different to Bethnal Green, capturing elements of Spain and Latin America that seemed to be missing in London.

“I love the vibe of the chiringuitos – they are places that you can go from sun up to sun down. Whilst the mood changes with the time of day, they are places where everyone is always welcome, where you can sit all day, won’t be rushed through service or hurried to leave – in fact, you are encouraged to stay,” he said.

You’ve got to try...

The Catalan flatbread with a dish called Valencia, which combines anchovies, garlic prawns and roast peppers with a lemon and parmesan crust on a rosemary base.

Sparkie also likes...

The fish tacos that come with grilled swordfish and an elderberry jam sauce.

Go if...

You want relaxed rooftop vibes and a bunch of snacking plates.

Want to see more?

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