Espana opening on Denman
From Andrew Morrison at Scout: "Ed Perrow, the amiable fellow who ran operations at Bin 941 & 942 during their heyday (and was recently a front of house fixture at La Brasserie, Cibo, and Uva), has partnered up with Cibo’s highly regarded and soon-to-be-former chef Neil Taylor. Together, they are opening a new, Spanish-themed restaurant called “Espana” in the old Cosca space at 1118 Denman Street."
After a few false starts on my end, I finally made it down to Espana this weekend. It's an excellent addition to a neighbourhood crammed with mediocre restaurants, both chain and independent. It wasn't excellent but everything we tasted was solid and flavourful. The wine list was tight but reasonably well edited. The room modern but cozy.
Here what we ate:
Catalan Spinach - with pine nuts and raisins
Crispy Chickpeas - with paprika and mint, very tasty. I could have sat at the bar all night eating these and drinking...
Ensaladilla Rusa - Russian potato salad, very tasty, a highlight
Crispy Squid - tasty if somewhat unspectacular calamari
Salt Cod Croquettes - see above
I will certainly be back to sample more of the menu - especially since we were greedy with the deep fried, leaving no room for meaty goodness.
Also sad I was too full to try the sherry trifle or the churros. Nothing about that sounded bad.
Tried out Espana last week after enjoying the last little bit of summer weather. Food was quite good, atmosphere was social and upbeat without being overly loud. The kitchen did a great job with the dishes and chef Taylor seems to be right at home jumping from Italy to Spain.
Heirloom tomato salad - Great ripe tomato with an amazing flavourful and creamy goat cheese (need to find out the brand)
Octopus - very tender, not the most flavour but the dish was well balanced with chorizo and arugula
Grilled Chorizo - Well balanced sausage with hints of sherry, complimented by the mint and orange
Duck Liver on toast - (special) very simple yet delicious
Ham croquettes - nice smokey-ham flavour
Spiced Lamb - loved the spice, juicy lamb and yoghurt combo
Salchichino - Nice simple peppery salami (good value at $6.50)
Both wines we tried by the glass ($9) were great and couldn't fault the service.
Looks like Denman has a winner, and somewhere for the Cactus Club off shoots to come for food.
I was there too recently. It is a solid addition to the neighbourhood and good value (important in that neighbourhood).
I had a glass of cava, shared some chickpeas and the pork belly. The food was very good. Service was friendly. There's still some learning going on, but it didn't detract from the experience.
Here's a link to their website: http://www.espanarestaurant.ca/
We just tried Espana this past Tuesday for my birthday and we quite liked it. It was just me and my partner and we were relatively hungry so we ordered the following:
-Piquillo Peppers Simple but good, not sure if they are marinating their own but what they served was fine
-Manchego Which was served with some little grapes (likely wine grapes) and buttered toast points. I thought the combination of buttered toast points with a relatively hard cheese was an odd choice, but this is perhaps typical of Spanish cuisine so can't say.
Chickpeas These were great, I love a toasted chickpea and they didn't disappoint. Not oily, well seasoned with a good texture.
Duck LIver Comes served on a bed of puy lentils with little quails eggs and arugula. This was my favourite of the evening. The combination of flavours was great and the duck liver was done to perfection, really a great little dish.
Lamb (essentially a kebab) this was service with baba ghanoush and a little herbed sauce. Very good, again well balanced and appetizingly presented.
Calamari they called it fried squid but it was essentially a very good calamari. The dipping sauce was a lovely red pepper jam with a thick yogurt sauce. It was nice and light, with a good crunch, and the sauces were fun.
Scallop with Romesco I was a little reticent on this one as I don't always like romesco, but this one was great. The sauce had a bit of smoke to it but it wasn't overpowering, and the scallop was very nicely seared. So good we ordered a second one.
I don't specifically remember the wines by name, but we had the more Rose Cava which I quite liked an then two of the whites (the Chardonnay and something else that didn't stand out) and then two reds suggested by the server which were excellent (I put them in my phone but can't find them now for some reason).
Overall a very good meal, with good atmosphere and pleasant service. Great addition to the restaurant.