El Cantara, Westfield

I don’t really rate the eating options at Westfield (Stratford). Living just 10 minutes walk away, we find ourselves there A LOT (going in for a pint of milk but coming out with a new wardrobe being one of the downsides of this). Apart from Grind and Franco Manca, we don’t go out of our way to eat at Westfield very often.

However, we’ve always had one eye on El Cantara. It’s a tapas bar-cum-deli, where we’ve stopped into in the past to pick up tagine sauces and the like. However, in a fit of hunger combined with indecision, we decided to duck in out of the shopping hordes for a bite to eat.

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We pulled up a couple of stools at the bar and perused the short but delicious looking menu. Despite loving our trips to Spain in recent years, we don’t actually find ourselves going out for tapas a huge amount. Maybe because it never feels as authentic as it did when we were sat in a bustling bar in Seville, but we’re probably missing out. It’s the perfect food when you don’t want to commit to anything in particular.

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Alex got particularly excited when he saw the drinks fridge – they were serving Alhambra, the beer he practically lived off when we visited Granada. Since it was the weekend, he pushed the boat out and went for the Reserva variety (stronger, I’m told).

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We struggled to narrow down our food choices to 4 dishes (#firstworldproblems anyone?) but democratically chose 2 each. We also got the obligatory bread.

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We went for quite a meat/fish heavy selection…

Gambas al ajillo – beautifully cooked tiger prawns sizzling in garlic, chilli and oil.

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The holiday favourite; calamari. Not at all rubbery and covered with flakes of sea salt.

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Albondigas (meatballs) which were rich and filling.

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And finally, some sizzling chorizo.

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We didn’t eat loads, but the rich flavours and variety of the dishes were enough to leave us feeling more than satisfied. And most importantly, ready to face the rest of Westfield with the strength to battle the crowds and resist temptation in the shops.

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