My colleagues enjoyed one of the more wild, memorable office parties at Camino Blackfriars Basement Bar last year, and I’m still struck by a serious case of FOMO several months down the line. I finally got the chance to right these wrongs and discover this charming basement bodega for myself a couple of weeks back.
Offering peaceful respite from the heaving crowds and frenetic bustle of most parts of central London, Camino Blackfriars Basement Bar is located on a cobbled street just moments away from Blackfriars Bridge and St. Paul’s Cathedral. While most Friday night revellers were immediately drawn to the bright lights of the street-level Camino, Camino Blackfriars Basement Bar is the delightfully quaint, authentic tapas bar and restaurant that you’ll find in the basement.
Camino Blackfriars Basement Bar offers an irresistibly cosy and familiar vibe thanks largely to its exposed vaulted brickwork, candlelit tables and snug lounge areas, while an eclectic soundtrack played everything from Latin-inspired remixes to some classic upbeat Michael Jackson tracks. We settled ourselves close to the main bar in a side-passage away from the Glass Floor Room - which guests can hire exclusively for private parties at the weekend.
The Food and Drinks
We came expecting an authentic tapas feast, and that is exactly what we got. The menu comes handily divided up into charcuterie, cheese, meat, fish and vegetarian sections, with a wealth of traditional Spanish options to ensure that there’s truly something for all tastes and preferences.
Delving straight in to a medley of sharing plates that featured patatas bravas (£4.50), crispy baby squid (£5.50) and chicken skewers (£5), we soon found a favourite in the gambas ajillo (£9) - a lip-smacking serve of prawns with garlic, white wine and a fiery chilli kick that justified its slightly dearer price-tag. I quickly gobbled up the mini iberico burger (£5.75), which came with a idiazabal cheese and a zingy, moreish relish, and found the empanadaillas - melt-in-the-mouth parcels featuring pumpkin and sage - to be the pick of the veggie plates. A selection of around seven to eight would probably be enough for a party of two.
Drinks-wise, you can get top quality wine and beer here, but I’d urge you to sample the exquisite range of cava even if, just like myself, you know little about it. The attentive staff will happily advise you according to your tastes, and the menu even comes with a guide to its production and history, so you can learn while you sample some of the finest bubbles in town.
This was central London on a dreary March evening, but Camino Blackfriars Basement Bar's captivating feel and authentic touches could easily convince those who had let their imagination run free to find themselves in a traditional Catalunyan bodega. The service was impeccable; with attentive staff seamlessly whisking tapas plates between groups and ensuring that glasses always remained heartily topped up. For a Friday night, I was actually surprised to find Copa de Cava relatively quiet; it kept a nice buzz but it was by no means rammed with revellers looking to kick-start the weekend. This basement venue is relatively small in size but it makes excellent use of its modest dimensions, and I can imagine it’s an absolutely perfect fit for groups of between 20 and 100 looking to host a private function.
The Camino group have a well-earned reputation for offering among the best tapas restaurant experiences in town, and so it came as little surprise that Camino Blackfriars Basement Bar was such a delight. Perfectly suited to medium sized groups looking for exclusive hire, its intimate and approachable vibes also make it a guaranteed winner for a date night.