· Thursday August 7, 2014

Spanish food is one of the best-represented cuisines in London. Londoners love tapas. It has, indirectly, introduced us to Italian cicchetti bars, Japanese izakayas; even English ‘tapas’ restaurants. Small plates here, small plates there, small plates everywhere. We're obsessed and it's become the de rigueur suffix for every restaurant wishing to communicate that what they do strays from convention. With it have arrived a great many poor imitations.

Not Trangallán. In a cosy little no man's land between Islington and Dalston, it serves among the best tapas and Northern Spanish food available in London. Immaculate plates of wafer-thin glistening jamón ibérico, oozing, just-cooked slices of tortilla and succulent grilled octopus are symbols of a restaurant not just authentically Spanish, but also just generally brilliant. This is food that seldom gets boring and repeat visits are never questioned.

Trangallán is a place whose service is low-key and charming but also knowledgeable; their interior an eccentric and chaotic ensemble of unmatched furniture and vintage crockery. There's no fanfare here, just the jarring sense of a restaurant specialising in one of the most contemporary of cuisines in the most traditional of ways.