There’s a long, deep breath that people take once they’ve shut the car door on the pouring rain. Is it the unconscious release of tension following the concentrated effort of escaping the wet and cold? Does it have something to do with a change in atmospheric pressure? Or is it simply an involuntary sigh of relief? With the scientific community aggressively split on the issue, we’ve dug up some evidence that may by analogy shed some light on this fascinating biological contraction. Because the sigh you let out when you first sit down at Sibarita is exactly the same sigh.
Sibarita, a tiny tapas place just behind Covent Garden’s main square and from the guys that brought us Rambla, is a refuge like no other. It’ll have you sighing with relief you didn’t even know you needed relieving of. With a traditional Spanish interior and a real stillness to the room, Sibarita is an extremely chilled out place. There’s a long bench to one side which makes for a really homely cosy feel, and the kitchen is set below the main dining area which is serviced by a small, silent dumbwaiter. It’s not the familiar hustle and bustle of a traditional tapas place, which is actually really refreshing.
And with a brilliant wine list and lots of course to share, Sibarita is the perfect place for a date. If you're going for something a little more on the intimate side, you’ll want to call ahead and get one of the tables away from the main bench which can get a little tight. Wherever you decide to sit, this place is hard to get into. There aren’t many tables and things don't move too quickly around here.
The food would put many traditional tapas places to shame. All the classics here are strong. The padron peppers, cheese, and charcuterie selection are all top draw, and the quality doesn’t drop even when they go a little off-piste. The cocas de atun, a.k.a. 'tuna and other bits on sourdough bread' is brilliantly balanced and fresher than Febreeze in the spring. If you’re up for something a little more aggressive, the baked torta del casar cheese a.k.a. ‘mac and cheese with bread instead of the mac’ is absolutely for you. The smoky roasted lamb chops, although a little overdone, are seasoned perfectly with thyme and green olives. The croquetas of the day are always solid and if you’re lucky enough to get the spinach ones, then you’ve got a deep-fried ball of cheesy green joy to look forward to. And if you somehow manage to save room for dessert, your self-restraint will be handsomely rewarded with the torrija. Don’t ask questions, just order it.
Sibarita is one of those places you’d go back to over and over. They’ve nailed everything from the relaxed service to the ambience and still have some killer dishes that’ll rival others far pricier in the area. Their menu is full of variety and flavour and their daily specials are always worth a punt, so a meal here can be different every time. And whilst you may have thought you have in your lifetime let out some serious sighs of relief, they won’t come more aggressive than the one you are bound to exhale at Sibarita.
You’ve a choice of three or five cheeses. Goats, sheep, and cows did us perfectly. This board comes with warm crispy bread and is a lovely winter starter.
Like political dissidence, they’re everywhere. But they’re very good here with a burnt citrusy flavour. It really wouldn’t be a Tapas meal without them.
These could have been cooked a little less and the sauce could have been punchier. But the rich flavour of thyme and olives that bleed from these bad boys cannot be oversold.
They say that in gambling, the house always wins. Well, the only winner here is your taste buds because it doesn’t matter which croquetas are up on the menu on the day - you’re lucky enough to be in the building. As long as it’s a day ending in “day,” you’ll do fine ordering these.
Just not what you’ve come for. This was absolutely nothing special and one of the only letdowns on the menu.
If mac and cheese did a gap year in Spain it’d come back tasting like this. This pot of molten cheese served with crispy sourdough as the mode of mouth transportation is greasier than the showers after a Real Madrid game. Which is definitely a good thing in this very specific context.
This special isn’t always available but is an absolute triumph of a dish. A crunchy base of sourdough toast with a tangy avocado spread, soft raw tuna and a spicy mayo on top. It’s one of the best things we ate here and tops the charts for best argument for sustaining the habitual depletion of the world’s tuna population.
A tortilla based dessert they said. Served with passion fruit ice sorbet they said. That sounds silly, we said. We were shamefully wrong. This is Spanish bread and butter pudding. A crispy caramelised skin and milky buttery centre makes cosy acquaintances with a sharp but light sorbet. We’d like to officially apologise to the entire nation of Spain for doubting you.