A Review of L’Oculto (Lewisham or Brockely?)
L’Oculto apparently means hidden one. We asked because it was the name on the menu. There wasn’t a name on the door, unless you count ‘pharmacy,’ which did mean that the restaurant was really kind of hidden. We walked past about three or four times without realising that was was tapas place we were looking for.
Apparently the name reflected more than how easy the tapas place was to find. It reflected the wines and the food sources. All of these were intended to be small unknowns to bring unique experience.
The restaurant was also filled with unusual crafts that one could purchase.
It was definitely a unique experience. Out of all of the dishes we chose from, not a single one failed to be special.
We managed to eat several large plates of bread… well, the bread was excellent. The bread plates were enormous, but fortunately only came in at £1.80 per person. What an unpretentious price for excellent food.
The platters came out first, and our cheese platter came with a magnificent detail on each of the cheese sources, including which order to eat them in. This was not just a service offered on the cheese, but also on the cured meat. And no introduction to a cheese board could beat the one at L’Oculto
Combinations were unusual, but perfect. For example the mojama with pear and capers, was actually tuna with pear, in elegant spices. The dish of octopus and potato was enormous and served in the shape of an octopus. This was one of my favourite dishes.
Octopus at L’Oculto
The earthy flavours of the leeks with almonds made a great vegetable dish, and the peppers with anchovy were a great combination.
Desserts were simple, and that is all good with me when they have been prepared properly with attention to detail. The poached plum in red wine is normally something I skip because, well, it is a pear, in red wine. But I stole some of my husbands and it was delicious, someone had really though about what to use in the recipe. I had chosen the caramel flan with cream mixed with sherry in a jug in the corner. That was petit but marvellous, nearly as good as the pears.
But L’Oculto has one massive downside, that is keeping me awake at night. It is that visits to competitor tapas bars will feel pale and insignificant in comparison. I may feel that I can only eat tapas here ever again… but I might not have any choice in the matter. The place was booked out, with a relatively strict approach to bending the rules.
Be sure to visit the rather petite library just nearby… squeezed into just one red telephone box…