Turning The Dream Into Reality – Opening A Tabanco In London

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What Makes Drakes One Of The Best Tapas Restaurants In London?
June 6, 2015
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Turning The Dream Into Reality – Opening A Tabanco In London

tapas and sherry in london

Carrying on from our last post, I wanted to talk a little bit more about how we brought our dream of opening an authentic Spanish tabanco in London to life.

Sherry over from Spain…that is our secret.

Well…we got them to change the rules, let’s just say that. A year of hard work and a willing Bodega owner with a ‘can do’ attitude who sees the future of sherry in the same way as we do.

They are our natural partner. Dynamic. Forward thinking. Boutique. Wines of outstanding quality. Amongst the best if not the best from the region. Willing. Able….more than able. Believes that sherry is best with food. Other than water, no better drink.

It is much easier to have an expansive list, much harder to have a small focused list. Again a year of deliberation, of tasting, of basket circles…to get the best possible products in a comprehensive selection of styles, not too many to confuse people, enough for variation, for education, for pairing with different foods. The best of the best without forgetting money comes into too.

We have tried to mirror the conditions as much as possible with soil underneath and spraying for humidity etc… but of course conditions are different. We consulted and took advice on all of this too of course and the capataz’s and owner’s laid it all out for us. These wines will develop beautifully in our tabanco. Sherry is a living, breathing thing…nectar from the gods…and if a customer comes in has a glass from the barrel, the exciting thing is if they come again in a month, two months time, depending on the style and how quickly we sell it or don’t sell it they will drink the same product but it will have evolved and only have got better!

If we thought it was going to be a passing trend this whole operation, research, time, money would be a waste of time for us. We are not here for the short term. We are in it as it is a business driven by our hearts. We genuinely love what we do. We love sherry and with a lot of hard work from us so will more and more people. Sherry has been around for centuries and will be for many more. We just hope Drakes kick starts it all again. Another reason here why to call it Drakes..as we are kick starting the nations love for it again…pioneer’s like Drake himself…just kick starting people’s love of the real sherry, the dry sherry styles and just as importantly sherry from barrel, the way it should be drunk and how it is drunk in Jerez, Sanlucar, Puerto de Santa Maria, Malaga etc…but never before outside of Spain as far as we know in this way…Gordon’s doesn’t count!

Sort of answered this already. Less is more. Easy to just stock every sherry that is available…much harder to select the creme de la creme and go with them only.

We certainly do have plans for more Drakes…not just here in London either…very exciting where this could lead, however, we very much believe in one step at a time…or if it goes motoringly well 2 steps but no more than that!

Sherry is a wine and an amazing one and we believe you get more out of it from a wine glass and we are also trying to change people’s perceptions here so a wine glass makes real sense.

DSC_0099That is how they are drunk where they come from. Manzanilla and Fino are always served fridge cold. Try one not chilled against one that is chilled and you will see why! Try with some our delicious tapas – olives, anchovies, smoked salmon, almonds, cured meats and tell me it should not be cold!! Other styles should be less cold so the aromas really come alive…the more complex and more oxidised the less you chill as a general rule. Amonitllados, Olorosos, Palo Cortados should be served around 12 degrees.

They will once they have visited Drakes. I think with all the press Sherry is currently getting that little by little people are understanding this to be the case.

We can only lead the horse to liquid gold…the proof will be in the pudding…PX with ice cream…anyone who does not like that needs shooting. No seriously though, something of this quality, a truly world class product or set of products, served at the right temperature in a lovely glass that respects the liquid in it, served by knowledgeable and friendly staff with a little theatre, paired with the right food and served in a lovely space with a great atmosphere…what will there be to not like. Convinced of this. Not much to get right!!

DSC_0038We are also realistic…not everyone might want to try sherry (more fool them I say) so we have to have a few other options. These options have not been thrown together. To create such a small wine list is hard. To go to Spain and seek out one of the best artisan brews in the world is not simple…it is a dedication to serving quality. To go to Spain to be involved in the blend for our entry level red so as to serve something that we believe to be the best tasting wine for the price is done out of love for what we are doing. Same goes for our entry level white…the Bodega we are dealing with have made a wine specifically for us to deliver quality at a great price. If someone doesn’t want sherry that is of course completely up to them so if they want a glass of traditional wine instead, then we want to serve them a great one at a great price that has not been filtered or commercialised. The wines we have chosen are all made by producers who share the same philosophy. We want to serve something that is on a par in terms of quality and ethos as the star of the show, the sherry. Same with the beer and the soft drinks. Also sometimes it is nice to have a Fino as an aperitif and then have a glass of red later and then move back to India/Cream or PX for dessert. We are a 2015 London Tabanco with a different set of customers to those in Jerez. We would like to think we are a whole new bread of tabanco but one that has not forgotten in any way where we have come from.

Hungry for more? Why not take a look at our tapas menu and our selection of fine wines and sherries.