It was not an auspicious start. An ultra-popular Spanish tapas bar in the heart of Soho, with only 23 seats inside (generally the only place in England you want to be) and a no booking policy; it all added up to a exceedingly long wait. But, we were determined to endure it and to find out why so many people in London are repeatedly willingly to do the same.
Not even the petulant waiter – Basil Fawlty and Manuel’s love child – and his permanent look of harassment would deter us (nor his failure to offer us a much needed drink while we patiently waited and looked on at the seated and eating patrons with ravenous envy).
There was just ‘something’ about this place. Even waiting in line you could feel its ‘vibe’ and, by this stage, we were doggedly determined to snare one of the few, prized seats around the American-diner-style bar (we passed the time by discussing the merits of each possie and then taking bets on which coveted pew we would eventually end up scoring).
When we were finally seated (hurrah!), it was as though the arduous prelude never happened. Efficient and engaging (though, still a little eccentric) service kicked into action and we looked on with hungry anticipation as each dish was whipped up in front of us by a team of amiable chefs.
And those dishes were worth the wait.