The Providores and Tapa Room has long been an institution on the London dining scene, but you may be surprised to learn that the Marylebone restaurant was established way back in 2001.
The restaurant and its founders, particularly New Zealand born chef Peter Gordon, are seen as the pioneers of ‘fusion’ cuisine in this country, loosely referring to an eclectic mix of flavours from Asia, the Middle East and the Mediterranean.
Split into two distinct areas, the ground floor Tapa Room (not tapas room, despite serving a menu of small plates) is an all-day restaurant / café that is perhaps best known for its weekend brunch and coffee (witness the queues on a weekend and you’ll understand).
On the first floor you’ll find the calmer, more polished The Providores, offering a similar menu but with the addition of a few dishes to reflect the more ‘proper’ nature of the dining room.
On this visit we tried the Tapa Room and were seated up close and personal with our neighbours as space is at a premium here. Be prepared to shuffle your seat to make room for others.
We started with a selection of Mediterranean snacks, including padron peppers and fabulously smoky grilled chorizo. These were so good that chorizo croquettes with goats’ cheese pesto were immediately ordered.
The menu is primarily made up of sharing plates, with favourite ‘starter’ dishes being crispy Sichuan pepper baby squid; Scottish scallops with sweet chilli sauce and crème fraîche; and broccoli, with moromi miso and sesame dressing.
The larger dishes are also designed for sharing but can equally be ordered as regular main courses.
Stand-out dishes included the ‘Beef Pesto’, a signature dish for the chef, which consists of a marinated beef fillet with warm chard, courgette and beetroot salad and pesto; and 7 hour roasted lamb shoulder with cauliflower, crushed new potatoes, wild mushrooms and pomegranate (pictured below – this isn’t my finest work but you can follow me on Instagram for better examples!)
The menu is full of intriguing combinations of ingredients and flavours that are bold and inventive, and the restaurant itself is still going from strength to strength despite the recent influx of other very good restaurants in Marylebone including Chiltern Firehouse, Pachamama and Fischer’s.
The Providores and Tapa Room features Europe’s largest selection of premium New Zealand wines and I would highly recommend visiting to try the wine selection whether you wanted to dine or not.
Despite being best known for its weekend brunch, the ever-changing regular menu at the Tapa Room makes it a great spot to return to time and time again for an intimate dinner with friends.
The Providores features in our guide to the best restaurants in Marylebone.