Saturday, 12 March 2016

L'Oculto, a slice of Spain comes to Brockley

Caramel flan with sherry cream
We almost didn’t get into L’Oculto, a new(ish) tapas bar in Brockley, on Saturday night. We arrived to find the small restaurant full and, disappointed, were already walking back up the street, when one of the owners followed us out of the door and called us back. A couple at the bar had just asked for their bill and their seats were becoming available. I’m grateful they chased after us as I liked L’Oculto, a lot.

Our seats at the bar gave us a perfect view of the tiny kitchen. The two owners juggled the minute space which had been neatly divided into their own little sections. I have absolutely no idea how they aren’t forever treading on each other’s toes, but it seems to work. Just.
Mixed board
The two women who own L’Oculto also run the Flavours of Spain stall at Brockley market and import all of their own wines, cured meats, sherries, cheeses and cavas directly from producers in Spain. Sitting at the bar allowed us to have a chat about the ingredients and dishes, although any questions which were too probing about the recipes were met with a smile and being told “that’s chefs secret”.

Reflecting our evening at L’Oculto the two things that I enjoyed the most were the fact it brings something different to the area and it is also a restaurant of such quality. It’s something Brockley doesn’t have enough of.
Pan con tomate
I’m definitely no expert on tapas. I’ve only been to Spain once. However, in the week that we were in Madrid and Seville we visited a lot of tapas bars and L’Oculto seems to be hitting all of the same notes. (Apart from giving you free tapa with your drinks, although I think that is dying out in parts of Spain too.)

We gave the menu some serious attention, sampling around half of the dishes on offer. It is very hard to pick favourites as there was such consistency. However, if I was pushed to choose a couple of dishes, I’d have to go for the chorizo in red wine, a beautiful combination I haven’t tried before. And the family recipe caramel flan served with sherry and cream that finished our meal.
Chorizo in red wine
L’Oculto won’t be perfect for every occasion. We spent £80, which was well justified in terms of the quality, but not a place I could go to every week. When I’m looking to seriously fuel up, tapas never quite hits the sport for me either. However, if you want a lovely glass of wine, a light bite and a little bit of a treat, you won’t find many better places in SE4.

They are also already full and turning away diners (thankfully they do take bookings).

I love the fact that L’Oculto is on our doorstep. It’s already in my top three local favourites.

Beetroot and blood orange salad with pine nuts

Roasted aubergine with pomegranate and thyme


Poached pear in red wine with double cream

57 Loampit Hill
SE13 7SZ
L'Oculto Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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