The welcome: Four Spaniards with TV-worthy personalities await, wearing casual black LOBOS t shirts. You'll not avoid a warm handshake from each and every one. They'll recommend their absolute favourite wines (although sherry is currently on their minds for winter). Sit downstairs for a quicker bite, but upstairs is really where it's at, where a tiny open kitchen makes the room feel like one big chef's table. Lovely stuff.
The space: Unlike the Borough Market cubbyhole that's shrouded in darkness under the train tracks, this Soho spot - previously Top Dog - has big open windows onto the street and a focus on the open kitchen. Cosy tables and a conversational service style await.
The food and drink: LOBOS means wolf in Spanish and the concept is that a dinner here will feed the pack, even though really the intimate venue is better suited to couples or sets of four. Everything's designed to share and it'd be rude not to kick off with beef, duck and chicken croquetas, a miraculous one-off that sounds like an overkill but is a rich mix of meat epitomising how fine-tuned the restaurant is into producing really quite miraculous meat.
Since LOBOS do unusual so well, try the grilled octopus leg - it's already a dramatic dish to look at (octopus LEG), made more vivid on LOBOS's stand-out mottled tableware. Symmetry Breakfast - with his love of contrasting food and ceramics - would be proud. Octopus is notoriously hard to cook, and LOBOS' dish feel just short of perfection with some uncomfortably jellified patches, though the tougher parts were a genius match to the paired chorizo sausage.
'The Big Ones' and 'Meat Tapas' follow the formula of being traditional, but exquisite. No fussy presentation or half-sized portions, just hearty, gloriously salted sustainable meat cuts laid out honestly on wooden boards. Eating's even more fun when you're presented with a menu from which you really can't go wrong. If you're a novice, go for the signature Iberico Pork Selection, with padron pepper and potato, as well as a Spanish type of bubble and squeak to balance out the types of pork: there's three variants distinctive enough so that even a novice could talk on the differences.
Would we return? Rip-roaring informality and best-in-class Tapas mean LOBOS will make an occasion out of the most poultry of winter nights. So much fun, eating here is like the adult's version of a kids' birthday party.
Follow @Lobostapas on Twitter, who are open now and taking reservations. Book a table by visiting their website
|What||Lobos Meat & Tapas, Soho|
|Where||48 Frith Street, W1D 4SF | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Tottenham Court Road (underground)|
30 Nov 16 – 30 Nov 20, Opening date and times to be confirmed shortly
|Website||Visit Lobos's website to book online|