Restaurant review: Morito EC1

�“I used to be so territorial about my food,” said our host at Morito, a tapas bar in Exmouth Market. “Whatever I had ordered, it was mine and I didn’t want to give any away. But since working here, my whole attitude has changed and I really share food.”

The decor is stripped back, part-industrial and part-cafe, and the restaurant doesn’t take reservations, allowing people to turn up on spec.

When we popped down the place was heaving, with a small queue of people waiting for a table. With all the tables full, we were perched at the bar on high stools which added to the informal atmosphere.

Juices

We soon tucked into a pair of Gilda (meaning lollipop) – a pickled chilli, an anchovy and an olive on a cocktail stick – which got the juices going nicely.

In true Spanish style, we washed this down with an Alfonso Orloso, a crisp and light white sherry.

One of the delights of tapas is the opportunity to sample a host of different flavours and we wasted no time in calling orders across the bar.

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The creamy aubergine was a delight and the salt cod croquets were a welcome taste of the sea.

The light and crispy plate of battered squid also had a strong coastal flavour.

Next were cute little quail’s eggs and Spanish ham, a mouth-watering combination, then a rich cheese served with sweet pickle and walnut.

After these toothsome comestibles we got going on something more hearty, or as hearty as tapas can be.

The lamb chops were cooked to succulent perfection and spiced with a delicious cumin jus giving them a north African flavour.

Also delicious were the huevos rotos – a helping of chorizio, egg and potato.

My pick of all these magnificent treats was probably the slow roasted pork belly, again with cumin and lemon. A thin layer of fat absorbed the wonderful seasoning and was full of Mediterranean promise.

Despite the small portions, we quickly filled up on these rich pickings and settled down with a glass of la guita, a dark sherry, to digest.

Morito is the epitome of informal and fun eating – and perfect for those on a budget.

Despite the laid back vibe, the food is outstanding and fully worthy of the Bib Gourmand award bestowed by Michelin.

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