But what exactly is it? The signage on the first floor of the building, 'Bacchanalia', makes things a little clearer for this is the office of the City Wine Merchant of that name. They are a specialist in Spanish wines while supplying some Italian wines also. They are also partners with Haciendas de Espana offering wine tourism and gastronomy in Spain. What it is then, is the retail outlet for the wines, for some farm products to go, and a social space inside in which to enjoy the farm products also (eat in).
The venue's quite low key: there's only six tables in the venue together with a horse-shoe bar dining arrangement while the back walls carry the wine shelves announcing it as a shop also. The next surprise comes on opening the menu to be greeted by the name Sergi Arola, the chef who runs the Arola restaurant in Hotel Arts Barcelona and the two Michelin star restaurant Sergi Arola Gastro in Madrid. I remain slightly unclear exactly what his involvement is with Zorita but sadly this is not his undiscovered UK outpost. He does however endorse the ingredients and the still mysterious farm.
The food is in fact very basic, centred on ham, cheese and combinations of ham and cheese. It is however high quality produce and one gets the sense that the point of this restaurant (if you can really call it that) is in fact a social space where you can really relax and enjoy a small taste of Spain. While I'm no expert on Spanish wines, those on sale here are again high quality wines sold even for those eating in (I'm assuming) at retail price and so the idea of stopping at Zorita's Kitchen for the best of Spanish wine and ham and cheese with your friends is a good one.
Back to the menu, page 1 leads with Jamon Iberico de Bellota, aged 18 months at the Hacienda Zarita Organic Farm (£20), followed by Torta de dehesa (£13), an award winning soft sheep's milk cheese (unpasteurised) also aged at Hacienda Zorita Organic Farm. The penny is now dropping on the farm thing. There's Embutidos (£15), a selection of prime cured cuts, and Tabla Campera (£12), ewe's cheese and prime cured cuts together with a few other similar assemblies.
Page 2 gives three cooked options: Tortilla (£5), Pulpo a la gallega (£7) fresh water octopus, and Fabada asturiana (£5.50), a traditional Spanish stew with a white butter bean base served with pancetta, chorizo, black pudding. As a table for three, we ordered the Bellota which was of course excellent, the tortilla which was really nicely cooked and the Spanish stew that had a good kick to it and felt appropriately authentic.
Then there's the Tostas, open toasted sandwiches served with tomato, garlic and olive oil where a full page menu offers up a mix of your preferred ham with your preferred cheese. With quality ingredients, these are a fabulously tasty snack.
It's been open coming up for two years now but tucked away in Broken Wharf, possibly possessing an identity crisis, one feels it's not as busy as it should be. It probably fails more as a shop because viewing the wine racks requires you to manoeuvre between occupied tables and if I were browsing wine, I for one would feel more than a little awkward. Taking the place for what it is however and sitting down to eat, it's a great find, and for those working in the City or for those visiting the Tate, Zorita's Kitchen is a much better bet than much else that's in and around the local area.
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At the time of writing, Zorita's Kitchen does not have a website. Some details howeve can be found at Bacchanalia