Morada Brindisa Asador – Calcotada

Posted on Monday, 21st March 2016

Morada Brindisa Asador is part of the Brindisa family, but instead of focusing on tapas, it brings Castilian tradition to London with an emphasis on roasting meats in an “asador”- a vast wood fired oven.

Morada Brindisa Asador - London Food Blog

Morada Brindisa Asador

We attended a traditional calҫotada earlier this month, held at the restaurant only on weekends in February and March. A calҫot is a Catalan onion, described as a vegetable somewhere between a spring onion and a leek. We could have never imagined this vegetable could be such a highlight in the delicious, social gathering that the calҫotada is.

Firstly we were welcomed by a cold and crisp glass of cava, arguably one of the best ways to start any meal. The calҫots arrived fresh off the fire and wrapped in newspaper to keep them warm. Our host ensured we had our bibs on before we started and gave us a brief introduction to the tradition before explaining how best to eat them. Grasping the green end firmly with one hand, we gripped the top of the white part with the other hand, using just enough force to pull the outer layer down. The purpose of this is just to take away the blackened layer, leaving a sweet and smoky onion, ready for dipping in the romesco sauce. Based on the colour of the sauce, we expected it to taste strongly of tomato or pepper, but actually the flavour of the almonds and hazelnuts was prominent, complimenting but not masking any of the flavour of the onion. The method of cooking the calҫots takes away any of the bite that might reside in an onion or leek, the blackened edges reminding us of fire roasted chestnuts where you have to peel away the blackened skin to get to the sweet and nutty goodness inside.

Morada Brindisa Asador - London Food Blog - Arrival of calcots

Morada Brindisa Asador – Arrival of calcots

Morada Brindisa Asador - London Food Blog - Calcots

Morada Brindisa Asador – Calcots

Morada Brindisa Asador - London Food Blog - Stripping calcot

Morada Brindisa Asador – Stripping calcot

The portion size of the onions was very healthy – important to emphasise that this is a feast and that this is the main feature…or so we thought. Our hostess came to take our plates and ask our opinion of the calҫots. We praised them and she was glad. However, she then said that we’d like the next course even more. In her words “the onions are good, but meat is meat!”

Morada Brindisa Asador - London Food Blog - Carafe

Morada Brindisa Asador – Carafe

After drinking the cava with the calҫots, we wanted to try some red wine with our meat. The traditional way of serving wine at a calҫotada is in a carafe with a thin spout, like a teapot, that enables wine to be shared without glasses and without any drinker’s lips touching the vessel. It’s also great fun…! The hostess suggested a Priorat which was delicious and complemented the next course very well.

When the next course arrived, it could only be described as the meat platter of our dreams: presa iberica (Iberican pork steak from between the shoulder and the loin), lamb chops, butifarra (Catalan sausage) and spicy chorizo from Leon. To balance the meat: a selection of halved grilled artichokes, roasted red peppers, baked potatoes, toasted bread and aioli.

Morada Brindisa Asador - London Food Blog - The meat

Morada Brindisa Asador – The meat

The quality of the cuts of meat and the execution through the asador was excellent – perfectly cooked medium rare with a beautiful flavour of wood from the grill. Strongly focused on trying all the meats, there was a ranking that formed as we ate, strategically lowering the priority of the potatoes and bread (though not ignoring them) because, as good as they could be, “meat is meat”. Our favourite cut (and we must stress that they were all delectable) were the lamb chops. We described the flavour as the epitome of a lamby-umami crescendo in the middle our palette. In other words, so good that they reduced us to talking nonsense.

As much as we would love to believe we could just eat a full meat platter, you need variety to break up and appreciate the various flavours and the sides performed this task very well. The globe artichokes were apt, always an effort to eat leaf by leaf, but giving us chance to slow down a little and the flavour was worth the effort. The peppers were delicious – smoky and sweet with a touch of acidity. We did not expect to eat much of the bread or aioli, but we did and they were beautifully prepared, especially the aioli: generous but balanced amount of garlic and really good olive oil – extremely moreish.

Having left little behind, we had a short break before finishing our meal with a Crema Catalana – the Spanish cousin of crème brûlée, normally served at room temperature. In our opinion this was a nice light way to end the meal, the custard carrying hints of vanilla and orange peel.

Morada Brindisa Asador - London Food Blog - Crema Catalana

Morada Brindisa Asador – Crema Catalana

Morada Brindisa Asador - London Food Blog - Crema catalana

Morada Brindisa Asador – Crema catalana

All in all, the calҫotada was a messy, filling, mouth-watering, enjoyable affair. So much so, that we’re going back again before it finishes – for this year anyway!

Note: Available until the end of March.


Likes:

1) Fun, authentic experience
2) Delicious, top-quality ingredients


Dislikes:

1) Messy after onions, so perhaps a wet towel could have been provided

Food rating: 4/5
Service rating: 4/5

Price: Calҫotada for two with a glass of cava is £70, excluding service

Note: A guest post by O&M – husband and wife brought together through their mutual and growing appreciation of food and travel. Their conversations revolve mostly around food and their trips abroad include walking itineraries to as many food venues as they can fit in. In their spare time they are slowly eating their way through London and the World before their metabolism takes notice.

Website: http://www.brindisa-tapas-kitchens.com/morada/

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Morada Brindisa Asador Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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