As the rain was pouring down heavily we dashed into a taxi in order to stay dry, forgoing the walk from Kensington down to the West End. Traffic was unsurprisingly heavy as the dark clouds deposited a fierce rain that showed no signs of abating. The taxi crawled its way towards the West End, and we decided to exit somewhere along the strand in order to get something to eat.
The taxi driver pulled up alongside the pavement, the squeaky brakes announcing our arrival, with sodden pedestrians vying for the taxi as we paid. We were just outside the Adelphi Theatre, the Kinky Boots sign glowing brightly in the wind and rain, just next door a tall building with scaffolding obscuring its contents loomed up darkly.
As we left the taxi, we realised a restaurant was nestled at the base of the tall, dark building and it looked warm and inviting, despite the scaffolding. A welcome shelter from the rain and the crowds heading home from work, we dived in, shaking off the rain as we did so.
The restaurant was quiet, the dimly lit interior providing a cosy atmosphere, enhanced by the dark wood of the walls and exposed brick finish. The seating is small booths with leather seats and backs, many suitable for two lining the right hand wall, leading to the back. There is more seating upstairs, but we are shown to a small booth near to the rear of the restaurant on the ground floor.
Above our heads on dark wooden shelves, row upon row of wine bottles send a welcome invitation, and the aroma of delicious Spanish food as it passes by triggers my appetite. Warm, yellow lighting creates a refuge from the cold storm raging outside and I can feel myself beginning to unwind from the day.
The staff are helpful and welcoming, and the menu tells us that we are in The Port House, a “cellar like candle lit restaurant” specialising in Spanish tapas. We order a selection of dishes; chorizo, croquettas, Manchego, garlic prawns and a selection of cold meats. The chorizo was perfectly spiced and deliciously moist and was presented sizzling on a hot plate. The croquettas selection were a smooth and tasty combination of potato with ingredients such as chicken, and mushroom, beautifully light and very hard to resist.
The Manchego was also smooth, and creamy, perfectly balanced against the bread and delightfully complementing the cold meats.The atmosphere was friendly and relaxed, and even as it got busier, that feeling remained. The prices are sensible, even for central London, and when we bolstered ourselves up as we left to head back out into the rain, we knew we’d found somewhere we’d return to time and again.