Fino is a heavyweight, an Ali of restaurants. You won’t need to, but I’d recommend a light training regime before taking it on. Fino has all the elements of a grown up self-assured restaurant. The undoubted star is the Spanish tapas menu that changes daily. Head chef Nieves Barragan Mohacho divides her time between Fino and sister restaurant Barrafina.
You can also book at Fino, as in it takes reservations. Reserving a table is a system where you make an arrangement with the restaurant to be there at a certain time and date and in return the restaurant allows you to dine there on that date and at that time. London restaurants should consider this novel new system.
Reservations are prone to human error and my mistake was confusing the booking that I made. A mild alarm jolted through my body one hour before I was due when it became apparent that I didn’t have a table for that night for my guests. Panicked I called the soul of Fino, Thomas Blythe who runs the restaurant.
Thomas understood my mistake, fixed it – even though the restaurant was fully booked and buzzing on a Tuesday night and also took a bullet for me in front of my guests. To the restaurant whose booking I cancelled in favour of Fino when they wanted me to ‘sign a contract’ to confirm my booking, take note, that is how it is done. In fact, every restaurant should adopt some of Thomas’ spirit.
We sat at the eating bar and had a waitress who spoke as one who knew what she was talking about in regards to the food and its history, rather than one of had learned her part by rote. She suggested dishes, asked about our tastes and likes and matched wines. Mainly she ensured that the food just kept on coming in an onrush of tapas.
Salt cod donuts, wind dried beef, jamon iberico, pork belly, cod in tomato and garlic, padron peppers, sardines, beetroot & blue cheese salad, wine, wine, wine and wine. It was relentless, it was delicious and it will be different tomorrow. The bill can get away from you and quickly, but you simply do get what you pay for but don’t expect cheap and cheerful. A heavyweight won’t let you off that easily, but it will treat you right and you will respect it.
Dinner for 5 with a lot of wine approximately £340. Thomas Blythe was a value added extra. http://www.finorestaurant.com/