Tradition wonderfully clashes with the sleek, metropolitan feel of London's Bankside as Camino opens its latest eatery. Serving a menu full of exquisite flavour combinations and intriguing creations, their talented chefs and expert team hope to raise this joint up Southwark's culinary ladder.
The first thing I noticed upon entry was the welcoming, sleek interior. Authenticity is certainly not a problem for Camino. The cosy spot is beautifully decorated with a smattering of idyllic photos, endearing knick-knacks and all the signposts that you'd expect from a Spanish restaurant. You can immediately tell that every detail has been meticulously planned out. The Mediterranean-inspired bath tiles that line the walls seem to have a calming effect on the entire restaurant, and add the splashes of maroon and deep blue that you imagine when thinking of a rustic bar in Spain.
Scattered across the restaurant, you'll find clay pots, intriguing wall-hanging and a selection of black and white photographs. When you add the wonderful Jamón bar to this, a sleek station in the heart of the restaurant that delicately slices enormous legs of meat into wafer-thin pieces of ham, it's obvious that heritage is the pillar here. That said, the low-hanging light bulbs and large glass windows ensures it maintains the urban character that it needs in order to be taken seriously as a London restaurant. A clash of old and new, exceptional in every way.
Like every great tapas restaurant, Camino's chefs somehow manage to produce a diverse menu of different dishes that all seem to compliment each other. Potent in smell, this smoked Idiazábel ewe cheese went perfectly with the 32-month, acorn fed cured ham from the Jamón bar. Alongside this, the sautéed tiger prawns cooked in a garlic, chilli and white wine sauce was tremendous. Priced at £9 and far from being over-powering, the lingering garlic taste was calmed by the smooth white wine. Onto the meat section and again, we were spoilt. The spicy chorizo, costing only £5 and served on a bed of seasoned red peppers, produced a delectable aftertaste that you hope never ends. But the real treat was the Solomillo; a fillet steak, enhanced by the strong flavours of a portobello mushroom topped with salty Torte de la Serena cheese, and perfectly balanced by a sweet, roasted pepper.
Although we were comfortably full, the dessert menu was impossible to resist. Served in a charming, little white pot and priced at only £4.50, the thick, heavenly mixture of the Chocolate Hotpot perfectly accompanies the savoury, crispy churros. Mouthwatering indeed. But the star of the show was the Crema Catalana. The burnt top gives this creme brûlée a deep orange face, but after a few gentle taps exposes a gooey, delicious vanilla and cinnamon custard well worth its salt. After an initial wave of sweetness, your mouth erupts with a cinnamon aftertaste that elegantly lingers in between spoonfuls.
Atmosphere and Clientèle
Laid back and welcoming, Camino offers Southwark's revellers a cosy spot to unwind in after a long day of work. Although it boasts everything that you'd expect from a fantastic restaurant, the quick service and reasonably priced menu means that it'll definitely become a favourite eatery for the area's tapas fans. Camino is surround by sleek, modern office complexes, full of people that can't wait to sip through that fist glass of wine. The restaurant's layout and large galss windows allows it to nicely embed itself in the area's after-work scene. But regardless of the restaurant's corporate clientéle, Camino caters for any occasion. Whether you're meeting friends, eating your way into a food-induce coma with workmates or simply enjoying a nice weekend by the river, you'll leave this spot with a smile etched across your face and wanting more.
There's something special about Camino. Maybe it's their exquisite menu, bursting full of all the mouth-watering flavours and spices. Maybe it's their beautiful decorations, their elegant clay pots and their intriguing photographs. Maybe it's their characterful Jamón bar, stocked full of irresistible legs of ham and sat quaintly in the heart of the restaurant. Or maybe it's the fact that I arrived on a pleasant summer evening at sunset with a nearby saxophone-playing busker covering the entire area in a serene blanket of sound. Either way, Camino is special and has definitely rekindled my waning love for all things tapas.