Throughout February and March, Brindisa – the home of Spanish food in the UK – will celebrate the traditional winter Catalan festival, Calçotada. We went to check it out.
If you’re not familiar with ‘calçots’, they are very similar to the spring onion and taste absolutely incredible when chargrilled in bundles over open fire, before being dipped in the traditional romesco sauce. The clever folks at Brindisa welcomed us into the warm on a very cold January evening for us to try the tradition for ourselves. We were each given a bib (which turned out to be very much needed) and left to snack on almonds, olives and my favourite – croquetas! – before the fun began. Once they explained how to eat them we were away and boy were they good. Strip – dip – and bite would be our advice. Once that was cleared away we tucked into grilled lamb cutlets, white and black Butifarra sausages; sautéed white bean stew; whole grilled Spanish artichokes; roasted red peppers; grilled tomatoes and sourdough toast with alioli.
We had a go at drinking wine straight from the porrones (much harder to do than it looks!) and made a right royal mess. This is fun, relaxed yet theatrical dining at its finest.
Quite the meat feast, this year they’ve gone to the trouble of offering both vegan and vegetarian menus alongside the traditional one which includes ‘Escalivada’ flame roasted vegetables, baked potatoes with ‘samfaina’ tomato sauce and Catalan spinach. Both menus finish with a take on the traditional Crema Catalana (crème brulee to you and me) with a crunchy top and decadent creamy innards. Washed down with more wine from the porrones, we left with Calçotada kit in hand with the intention of attempting to recreate it at home. If you fancy doing the same, The Calçotada kits (£14) are available for delivery nationwide via online shop www.brindisa.com
The traditional Calçotada feast (£35pp) and Vegan Calçotada feast (£27pp) will be available exclusively at Tapas Brindisa Shoreditch on weekends throughout February and March, 12- 5pm and the Calçotada dishes on menus across all Brindisas.
Booking is essential – firstname.lastname@example.org