Dehesa in Soho: Spanish-Italian tapas and indulgent cocktails
Tucked within the historical and buzzy district of Carnaby Street, Dehesa offers diners a hospitable and intimate trattoria of Italian and Spanish-influenced charcuterie and tapas sharing plates. Part of the Salt Group Yard, this site has been open since 2008, with a recently revamped interior that has brought a more contemporary feel to the place. An outdoor seated terrace wraps itself around the building and the interior exudes the inviting glow from low-lit incandescent illuminations, dark chestnut furnishings and plentiful foliage.
Head chef William Breese presents a seasonal menu of fresh and simple dishes, and we start with large, juicy Gordal olives and two of their signature cocktails. The Dehesa Passion muddles vodka and passionfruit with lemon and lavender to create a surprisingly sour concoction, while the Carnaby Fashion blends together a warming medley of vermouth, bitters, sugar and lime.
We begin with the Jamón Ibérico de Bellota. Melt-in-the-mouth slices of thin matured ham are presented appealingly in small overlapping squares atop a rustic, square wooden block. We also indulged in a rich and tangy rectangle of warmed Mahon à la Plancha cheese with caramelised fig, drizzled honey and fragments of crunchy, crisp bread, which was absolutely delicious.
Next up, we tried the Sea Bream Carpaccio. The fish was a bit overpowered by potent slices of red onion and unfortunately the added notes of bergamot barely survived it either. However, the other sea-fuelled dish of Galician Octopus was a stunning large plate of tasty, tender fleshy cubes that paired brilliantly with the innovative sweet saffron-infused aïoli and smoky flecks of paprika.
A side of courgette flower stuffed with pungent Monte Enebro was softened by dollops of blossom honey, whilst the crispy purple sprouting broccoli was a much more savoury affair, generously sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts and grated parmesan.
We also tried the soft and tasty Ibérico Meatballs, which were tossed in a beautiful rich tomato ragout and balanced out with melted Cabra del Tietar ripened cheese. A lovely vegetarian dish of soft parcels of Jerusalem Artichoke Ravioli was made all the better with a generous and velvety chestnut mushroom velouté.
To go with our desserts we had two more cocktails – Made in the Med, which was an aromatic citrus base with Prosecco, and Nocciola à la Nicola, which fused nutty Frangelico and brandy with a heavy sprinkling of cocoa powder.
The spongy Clementine Cake was an absolute treat. It arrived with a quenelle of whipped yoghurt, which worked well in keeping the dish light and not too sweet. The Hazelnut Affogato was another post-dinner treat – indulgent nutty ice cream with a tiny jug of espresso coffee to pour over and a glass of fragrant Frangelico liquor to quaff alongside it.
Tasty and authentic, the tapas here really reflects the flavours of its heritage. Dehesa is the perfect place for homesick Europeans, small groups of foodies and intimate date nights.
★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Photos: Cristiana Ferrauti
To book a table at Dehesa, 25 Ganton St London W1F 9BP, call 020 7494 4170 or visit their website here.