Presided over by the hooves of prized Ibérico hams hanging from the ceiling, this tiny jamón bodega (billing itself as “London’s first”) is a cheering place to find among Bermondsey’s railway arches. Try the pan con tomate (£3) – toasts that you douse with garlic and fresh tomato pulp – and the outstanding Extremadura black-foot ham plates and Spanish cheeses. There are fine sherries, beers and cavas to wash it all down.
The embers at this new addition to the Salt Yard group come from the charcoal and wood that fuel its custom-made grill – a feature inspired by the cooking of the Basque country. The flames give a lovely lick of flavour to some imaginative fish and meat dishes, such as oak-smoked bream carpaccio and jamón-brined chicken with baby leeks. The roasted and chargrilled Ibérico pork ribs, covered in quince glaze, fall effortlessly off the bone.
60 Berwick Street, W1F 8SU; 020 7439 8057; emberyard.co.uk
Sparsely furnished with factory lights and tall stools at wooden bars, Copita is all the better for its no-frills attitude. There are sherries by the glass and a full wine list, from Godello to Navarra. From the tapas menu the truffled goat’s cheese is creamy and tangy, spread atop toasts with a sweet crunch from caramelised roast almonds. Copita has two London siblings, Barrica and Drakes Tabanco (where sherries are served from the barrel).
27 D’Arblay Street, W1F 8EP; 020 7287 7797; copita.co.uk
Fernandez & Wells
Jorge Fernandez (British born to Spanish parents) and ex-journalist Rick Wells opened this café-bar as a homage to the kind of place you might duck into after shopping in a local Spanish market. They have locations around the city but this is the most fun – its tiny galley space and window seats are invariably spoken for by early evening. Once ensconced you can nibble on addictive grilled chorizo, salty padrón peppers and manchego cheese.
43 Lexington Street, W1F 9AL; 020 7734 1546; fernandezandwells.com
The 23 bar stools at this tapas bar are slavishly queued for, and the cool marble countertop remains a great place to prop up over tortillas, croquetas and juicy grills, facing the heat of the open kitchen. Brothers Sam and Eddie Hart will open a Covent Garden branch in April, complete with Josper grill – and a few more stools.
54 Frith Street, W1D 4SL; 020 7813 8016; barrafina.co.uk