4 October 2015
We all have some places that we feel like we’re home, even when we are on the other side of the globe. For me in London, that’s San Miguel’s. Ever since I walked in one day after a Tube breakdown at Edgware Road over 15 years ago, I’ve found it to be my sanctuary in this otherwise crazy city.
San Miguel’s is a simple, down-home restaurant that chooses to be comfortable rather than trendy, the menu not changed since the day I came in. It’s the old school Galician wonders that I’ve come to love — much like the other place that has become my home, another Galician-run place, the venerable El Pote in NYC. Simple and delicious, what more can you ask for?
I had just arrived from Warsaw and had a very long morning and was hungry, so I dropped into my comfort spot. With Liverpool playing (poorly) in reflection (I’ve been here long enough to learn to watch the TV using the mirrors), I enjoyed a wonderful afternoon of tapas that I miss so much. I ordered a trio and awaited its arrival with some nice rioja in hand.
It was an off-hour in the middle of the afternoon so the dishes emerged quickly. First was boquerónes fritas, fried anchovies…
Then a set of excellent albóndigas (meatballs)…
Then finally my favourite dish of this place, riñones…
The anchovies were excellent, full of flavour. I prefer them fried when fresh than marinated, so this was a nice treat. The albóndigas were as solid as ever, the base perfect for the bread to mop up. And finally, those excellent riñones (kidneys) — I’ve never had a bad dish of this here, ever. It seems they changed the sauce a little bit, and it’s still as delicious as ever.
I love this place and just feel so relaxed. With the footie still going, I ordered one more item — pulpo a la gallega.
I’ve been eating this dish here since 1997, and it’s been excellent since that day. Never once bad, or even mediocre. Lovely.
And as usual, I stayed around for some espresso and brandy, and they brought out a second (and third) on the house. Like it has been for years.
There is something very special about these old school Galician places for me, and San Miguel’s is indeed one of the places in this world closest to my heart — and stomach.
256 Edgware Road