245 Eversholt Street, Camden, North London, NW1 1BA
It comes as little surprise that Camden locals and visitors alike have flocked to El Parador night after night since it first opened in December 1988 - the atmosphere is both upbeat and relaxed; the food vibrant, flavoursome and skilfully homemade, just how excellent tapas should be. Chef Cob Suthayalai is an expert on tapas; and proprietors Carlos Horrillo and Patrick Morcas have even written a cookbook, Tapas: Simple Combinations, Striking Flavours, which enables diners to recreate El Parador's flavoursome dishes at home. I began with tender goujons of fillet steak, which were served with a moreish roasted green tomato, butter and Madeira sauce. My guest opted for the chicken livers with Iberico ham, which was beautifully presented and - judging by how she couldn't stop singing its praises - tasted as good as it looked. Next, I sampled grilled pheasant, which was melt-in-the-mouth delicious, while my companion relished the succulent grilled chicken thighs with aromatic lemongrass, turmeric and coriander. A special mention must go to the artichoke side dish, which was so delicious I could hardly get enough. The same could be said for the yummy Baileys and coffee cheesecake - it more than satisfied my sweet tooth. By the time our post-dinner espressos with a shot of brandy arrived, we were already planning our next visit to sample more of Carlos' mouth-watering Spanish fare.