In using a basque word for the restaurant, especially one that roughly translates as to hop between bars, Txikiteo immediately conjures up the memories of San Sebastián and Bilbao, eating pintxos in the old square or Plaza Nueva, sipping txakoli, and gradually allowing more and more time between bars. It’s a memory that’s precious to me; the basque region is possibly my favourite in the world. One where a holiday can be as cheap or expensive as you like, given the affordable pinxtos and the concentrated number of multi-starred restaurants. It’s why perhaps I left Txikiteo as long as I did. It’s going to be impossible to try a slice of basque cheesecake and not compare it to La Vina, or a gilda without thinking of Casa Valles.

The gilda at Txikiteo is a good starting point for it covers what they do very well, which is to source very good Spanish produce from Brindisa. They make the gilda here as I do at home, using the same ratio of two of the Gordal olives, an anchovy from an Ortiz can, and one of those utterly addictive Guindilla chillies from Perello. It’s a snack worthy of the northern coastline of Spain, as are the plate of the same tiddly fish dressed in the spicy verdant Arbequina olive oil. They sell all of the above here, and as much as this is a review of the restaurant it’s also a strong suggestion for you to upgrade your home cupboards.

After this I wanted it to be perfect, but it’s not. A blindingly good romesco sauce should have been the ideal foil for charred leeks that have not seen enough heat and are tough, whilst a prawn special new on that weekend is let down by the digestive tract not being removed. And that’s shit, quite literally. Blistered ratte potatoes come with a perky mojo verde that hums of corriander, whilst top billing goes to an excellent flat bread, billowy and charred, with an overly generous amount of sobrasada, that addictive spreadable chorizo. It’s a Thomas Straker wet dream, softened with honey and is all the better for it.

We drink cocktails as the sangria isn’t available, which go from a lovely fresh drink of sherry and pear, to a coffee and banana number that tastes like the chocolate banana Muller fruit corner. It’s not too heavy on the wallet, the wine list is beautifully curated, and others – including an American filling up on a sharing steak – seemed to be loving it. I got into a chat with said man as we were paying up, boring him with tales of kilo steaks at Bar Nestor. He said the steak made him want to go, similarly, the meal here made me hanker to go back.


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