Out of the Spanish restaurant groups in London, top of my list firmly sits Cambio de Tercio in Chelsea, followed by Barrafina and Jose Pizarro. The Salt Yard group didn't quite do it for me; my experience at Salt Yard was mediocre but sorely overpriced, and Opera Tavern was okay if not predictable.
Mister and I were looking for a place for nibbles before show, and Dehesa popped up. I remember London Eater writing about their cod cheeks a couple of years back - maybe I should give it a go.
These arrived cold and hard boiled. Definitely not my scene. The whites were still firmly stuck to the shells, and made it very difficult to get into the egg. Had it came roasted, or grilled yakitori-style on a bed of sea salt, it would have been much more appealing.
Cornish crab and prawn croquetas with crustacean aioli
Needless the say, the cod cheeks were no longer on menu, but there were plenty of fish tapas to choose from.
The texture of these croquetas was different to what I expected. I was expecting potato croquettes with shreds of crab and cubes of prawns. But these were made up of minced crab and prawns, almost to a thick pate consistency that really stuck to the roof of mouth. Flavours were quite mild though, it mainly came from the shell fish aioli. But overall quite good.
Octopus a la plancha with chickpeas, piquillo peppers, spinach and gremolata
This was the best dish of the evening. The thick slices of octopus were soft, tender and well-seasoned. The accompaniments worked well to support by adding some substance without overpowering the dish.
Iberico pork loin carpaccio with pioppini mushroom, radicchio salad and apricot dressing
I have had medium rare Iberico pork before, but not as rare of these carpaccio; it most resembled seared tuna. The dish was refreshing with the fruity, acidic dressing, not dissimilar to yuzu. The pork somewhat loses its distinctive nuttiness and aroma when rare, I miss that subtle sweetness.
Grilled beef bavette with candy beetroot, asparagus, baby carrots and salbizxada salsa
A bit slack with the seasoning on the beef, and the sweetness from beetroot, turnip and carrots took all the attention. That said the beef was nicely cooked with a deep-red ruby centre enveloped by a seared rim. It just needed to be brought together with the rest of the ingredients.
Dehesa didn't do much to change my ranking of tapas preference. The quality was on par with Opera Tavern, nothing extraordinary or surprising though. Most dishes we ordered sounded much better on paper, but the delivery was a bit of a let down. I don't think I'll go back, the Wright Bros next door feels like a safer option.
25 Ganton Street
Tel: 0207 494 417