Spanish Restaurants in London
I love Spanish food. I am vegetarian. Two statements that make uneasy bedfellows.

Go to Spain and the selection is limited. Tortilla, plus patatas in one form or another, gazpacho in the south, peppers, maybe something with asparagus. Nearly everything else has recently been running in a field. You eye the stew suspiciously. “Does this have any meat in it?” The waiter looks affronted, “No meat, just chicken and fish.” London, by comparison is a vegetarian delight.

Many of the Tapas restaurants in London (and the UK?) are Galician. I’m not sure why this is. Galicia has a similar climate to the UK and a Celtic influence unique to Spain, but that doesn’t explain why they dominate the tapas market. The best, like Laixero, on Columbia Road, near the top of the Flower Market are the perfect marriage; Spanish feel, veggie heaven. Galician owned and elbow-knockingly compact. Customer reviews suggest the service is inattentive. Never noticed it myself. Not only is it attentive, but cute too.

El Toro Loco (Wanstead) is another good one, lovely Albarino wine and extra points for chasing me down the road saying “Meester, you have left your bag.” There are plenty dotted around town, Galicia (Portobello Road) has a noisy ambiance with live music (warning: traditional Galician music is based around the bagpipe). La Vina in Crouch Hill came up with decent food despite our arrival clashing with Spain’s exit from the World Cup. Gloom and doom in the kitchen, lovely food in dining room.

I love Spain. It has everything I like in a country; climate, great architecture, incomparable art galleries, the best football on the planet, but it treats vegetarians in the same way the Inquisition dealt with Protestants. England’s vegetarian population (between 5% and 10% according to the UK Vegetarian Society) ensures the tapas are more veggie friendly. The menus in London are the best of both worlds.