Last Updated on March 9, 2021 by Fiona Maclean
A Michelin star meal at home with Sabor en Casa
Few people have had as much influence on the London food scene as the Spanish chef Nieves Barragan. She was the head chef at Barrafina, the Hart brothers’ top-end no-booking group of tapas restaurants that redefined the Soho casual eating scene. You would have to queue to get into these buzzing and convivial gastronomic jewel boxes, but with amazing ingredients, simply and beautifully cooked, a bar-stool by the counter-top at the home of the small plate eating was an enviable perch for anyone who could afford the price of entry.
A few years ago, Nieves with her partner José Etura set out on their own opening, Sabor (flavour in Spanish). The restaurant is tucked away off Regent St in the restaurant enclave of Heddon Street. It promises to ‘take you on a journey from the tapas bars of Andalucía through to the asadors of Castile and the seafood restaurants of Galicia’.
In 2018. Nieves and José won a Michelin star. By then, the restaurant had already become a top destination on the London scene. Then lockdown! Now though, we are delighted to discover Sabor En Casa, the Sabor home delivery service. It comes with an offer that spans selections of tapas or meal kits plus drinks including the famous Fino Negroni or Sabor Sangria.
At London-Unattached we have been fans of Nieves’ cooking for a long time so we decided to treat ourselves (thanks Fiona!) to a Sabor En Casa Box (£90.00). It feeds 2/3 people and has to be ordered in advance to be delivered on a Friday to eat that day or to feed you through a lazy weekend. They also have a feasting box for 4 people priced at £220 which would be perfect for a dinner party.
The food from Sabor en Casa arrives chilled by the ice packs in the box. I was really impressed by the packaging, with the ingredients for each dish placed in separate vacuum packs stapled together and clearly marked. We’ve tried a few of these boxes and this makes the process much simpler than if everything is loose. There is also a well-designed booklet with the instructions and photos clearly laid out. If you are familiar with the dishes and a reasonably competent cook then it’s a fairly stress-free process to finish them off.
We started with a trio of creamy, indulgently oozing ham croquetas. They were soon fried to the point of crispness in the supplied rapeseed oil with ham added a smokiness to the proceedings.
For the tortilla, you must use a small pan. I’m a big fan of the Barrafina tortilla recipe which involves multiple flips and a lengthy cook-time and if ours didn’t quite reach that pinnacle it was still rich and authentic tasting. Try not to overcook it and leave it a bit loose.
The gambas al ajillo were a knockout dish with a fantastic flavour. The sweet, scarlet Sanlucar langoustines from Cadiz in a delicious spicy oil were head-suckingly good.
Pulpo a la Gallega is a classic Galician dish. The long-cooked octopus, doused in Picual olive oil, smoked paprika and salt, was tender with its earthy flavour spiked with the smokiness of the paprika and the salt shards.
I was slightly nervous about cooking the arroz negro (black rice). But there was just enough of the unctuous prawn and squid ink bisque to cook the short-grain Calasparra rice from Murcia and create a glistening mound of savoury happiness.
For a plate of posh comfort food look no further than the Iberian pig’s cheeks. They were slow-cooked, extremely tender, deep-flavoured and served with some super-smooth creamed celeriac.
A side dish of beetroot salad came with mild horseradish cream and a piquant hint of mustard.
Dessert was a light and fluffy Basque cheesecake with an unusual prune and liquorice sauce giving a sense of sweetness and freshness.
The Sabor en Casa offer is fantastic quality and, even if you aren’t a Michelin level chef, the preparation is fairly simple for a confident cook. So, if you want to impress your friends or give yourself a special treat you should give it a try. I hope they continue post-lockdown because getting a table at Sabor isn’t going to be easy!
Order online from the Sabor en Casa shop
Delivery is available nationwide – Order by 10pm every Monday for delivery on Friday, or plan ahead for a future Friday date.
Alternatively, plan ahead and select a Friday in the future. Depending on location, delivery can be at any time on Friday so it may be better to plan to eat on Saturday.