By the time you’re home from work, have dinner, and get comfortable in front of the TV, you probably aren’t in the mood to watch something stressful. Odds are you’ll turn to something unchallenging and nourishing. It probably has Emma Stone in it. And Rob Brydon. You’ll smile, go to bed happy, and watch another episode tomorrow night.
Sometimes you want a restaurant that’s similarly unchallenging and straightforward. Llerena is that kind of restaurant. It’s a place that serves food you always want to eat.
This food is from a small village in Extremadura in Spain, and the family running Llerena have been raising pigs there for over half a century. That’s impressive when you consider that we can barely look after ourselves for 24 hours. Unsurprisingly, it’s their pork that’s going to be the first thing to make you smile. The jamon, chorizo, and loin all come straight from the farm, and are the best you’ll find outside, well, the farm. The same goes for the whole gooey ewe cheese that comes with little bread sticks to dunk. It’s food that you’d keep eating if it kept being brought to you. We classify this as Dangerously Tasty Food.
We could just sit and eat ham and cheese all day and night, and that’s definitely one thing you should do here. But Llerena is also good for a proper sit down meal. Their selection of tapas, salads and stews makes it almost impossible to form rational decisions. Like us, you’ll start off with some jamon, and some croquetas, but then you’ll order the morcilla mondonga - spicy blood sausage covered in tomato sauce - on a whim, only to discover it’s the tastiest thing you eat all night. The menu is full of things like this. Things that’ll make you say ‘ooh let’s get that’.
Once you sit down for a drink, you’ll also be saying ‘ooh let’s stay here’. That’s because Llerena is just a comfortable restaurant. There’s a good wine list, a lager tap and a counter to sit at up front, and proper tables at the back. It’s an excellent place to pop into post-work, pre-dinner, with a date, or with a mate. So much so that you’ll probably drop by here on Tuesday, be back for dinner on Thursday, and then maybe for a glass of wine on Sunday. This is simply about as straightforward as good restaurants come in London.
There’s a choice of three ibérico hams and they’re all delicious. Nothing like your packed lunch.
You know when someone’s a bit smarmy and they’re all like ‘do you want a medal then?’. Well one of these ewe’s cheeses has actually got one. You should eat it.
This salt cod potato rosti is salty, and potatoey, and just very nice.
These meaty joys are the sort of thing you could eat 30-40 of without realising.
These blood sausages served in a tangy tomato sauce are reason enough to call an Uber to take you to Upper Street right now.
This may look like a puddle of meat prepared for your pet, but it tastes like a rich and sweet pork stew. You’ll want the recipe.
If there’s anybody on this planet who doesn’t like eating churros dipped in melted chocolate then we wouldn’t like to meet them, thanks.
We didn’t say no to liqueurs at the end of the meal, and neither should you. The hazelnut one is particularly lovely.