Popular tapas bar and watering hole Camino is now open in full swing, bringing fun Spanish dining south of the river.
We were already somewhat familiar with Camino before this visit to Bankside. The first time we experienced the group was at their Kings Cross location, a small side alley that’s now home to both the tapas bar Camino Kings Cross as well as their tiny, award winning sherry bar named Bar Pepito. This small group of restaurants and bars have become a regular choice for popping into after work, and the new location at Bankside will be making the most of that.
Camino brings tapas bang up to date, nowhere to be seen are the cold plates of calamari and soggy chips with bland mayo masquerading as ‘patatas bravas’ that give tapas a bad name. Everything here is made from top quality ingredients and prepared by skilled chefs, arriving at the table piping hot. We tried what I can only imagine to be half the menu, but a clear winner couldn’t be settled on as dishes were all at a consistently good standard.
The Pan Con Tomate is always a winner – even at the worst of tapas bars – here it came with a nice touch of Cayenne pepper. Croquetas de Jamon were delicious balls of melted-cheese-and-ham-heaven, wrapped up in crispy fried breadcrumbs. The Hamburguesa Iberica was a tiny iberico pork burger with idiazabal cheese and roasted onions, it was delicious, but the iberico flavours were strong here so beware if that’s not your thing. Gambas Ajillo was a real winner, simple in execution, the dish took the form of juicy tiger prawns in a garlic, chilli, and white wine sauce. Lastly we opted for the Huevos Rotos as a side dish, a moreish updating of patatas bravas consisting of sautéed potato discs with broken egg and smoked paprika.
The atmosphere inside the Bankside location was buzzy and warm – even on a weekday evening, and our waitress was so lovely we would have happily had her pull up a chair. Just the kind of comfortable atmosphere that all Spanish restaurants should be aiming to create.
Spanish food has been having a fairly persistent moment in London, and while Camino doesn’t reach the dizzying heights of hotspots like Barrafina, it doesn’t appear to want to. It instead occupies a position as a reliable, relaxed, and perfectly yummy way of spending an evening, ideally with a group of friends.
Camino Bankside, 5 Canvey St, London, SE1 9AN