24/1/2018: Updated with new opening date
London’s eagerly-anticipated new Spanish restaurant and bar — and one of last autumn’s most anticipated openings — will open at lunchtime on Thursday 1 February. The upstairs asador will not open until later in the month.
Nieves Barragan Mohacho, together with business partner José Etura, will now open Sabor, at 35 Heddon Street. The restaurant is being backed by JKS Restaurants, the group that owns Gymkhana and Hoppers and also backs Lyle’s, BAO, Kitchen Table and XU.
Nieves Barragán Mohacho was executive chef for the Barrafina group for nine years — and a huge contributing factor in making it many Londoners’ favourite tapas restaurant. She also spearheaded the brand’s expansion when it opened two new outposts in Covent Garden, on Adelaide Street in 2014 and on Drury Lane in 2015. Before that, she had worked with the Harts Bros.’ restaurant group as head chef of their now-closed restaurant Fino in Fitzrovia.
José Etura spent ten years with Barrafina, becoming the group’s general manager in 2009. Barragan Mohacho is from Bilbao in the Basque Country; Etura from Valladolid in Castile — together the pair will aim to introduce a restaurant that draws on flavours from all over Spain, from the “tapas bars of Andalucía through to the asadors (wood fired ovens) of Castile and the seafood restaurants of Galicia.” Indeed “Sabor” means flavour in Spanish.
Sabor, covered in tiles sourced from Andalucía, will have three different drinking and dining areas — a restaurant, bar, and upstairs asador — each taking on a different regional Spanish influence:
- Walk-in only.
- Featuring a long dining bar with guests seated overlooking the kitchen.
- As with typical Andalucían tapas bars, orders will be written on the limestone counter in chalk, so guests can see exactly what they have ordered.
- An in-house fishmonger will prepare and serve fresh seafood, ordered by weight from a seafood counter alongside the kitchen.
- Seafood will change daily, according to market availability.
- The menu will also feature regional dishes from right across Spain, including those from the Basque country and Catalonia.
- Dishes will include: Diver caught scallop and 5 jotas ham consome; chipirones en su tinta; wild rabbit empanadilla; Jerusalem artichoke and jamon tortilla with sage alioli.
- Walk-in only.
- Like the Andalucían tapas bars that inspired it, the bar will feature poseur tables (sans seats)
- Like in Spain, guests will be encouraged to throw their paper napkins on the floor.
- Dishes in the bar will include: Cured presa Iberica; black trumpet mushroom croquetas with black truffle; camarones fritos with fried quail egg; crisp fried chicken oyster bocadillo.
- The Spanish drinks list will focus on vermouth and Spanish gins, alongside sherries, txakolis, Spanish wines and beers.
- The bar will serve draft vermouth from Riojan producer Martinez Lacuesta, alongside a further list of red and white vermouths from right across Spain, from Barcelona down to Jerez.
- The drinks list will also include eight different Spanish gins.
- Will take reservations.
- A spiral staircase will take guests up to the asador, which will have a different feel to downstairs bar.
- Feature large sharing tables overlooking the open kitchen.
- Centre will be the asador itself; a traditional wood fired oven, sourced by the team from Castille.
- The menu in the asador will focus on specialities from the Galicia and Castile regions of Spain: with pulpo a feira (traditional Galician octopus cooked in copper pans with olive oil and paprika) and suckling pig cooked in the traditional Castilian asador oven. Both will be mainstays on the menu.
- The menu will also feature other dishes from the Galician and Castilian regions including empanada gallega;and txistorra, butifarra and cabbage.
- Daily changing dishes will include a daily whole fish on the bone.