We have walked past this cafe/bar/restaurant a couple of times in South Kensington and always meant to grab a coffee at some point. Today after a marathon of museum tours in the afternoon, we thought we would treat ourselves to a few snacks and a good coffee. There are three of these establishments in London, South Kensington as mentioned, a couple in Soho, Oxford Circus and another in Somerset House. Their rapid expansion shows that they are a hit with Londoners and travellers alike.
As it was a warm afternoon, we decided to sit outside as it was a little warm for us and so we sat under the awning that spills on to the pavement – come road that is South Kensington side streets.
Hanging from the ceiling at the entrance are dried legs of meat and walking in there are lovely coffee machines with numerous chalk boards promoting the wines, food and specials offering. The area seems small and so puts people off entering – to be honest we originally were in that category.
We ordered a plate or Iberia ham and a shortbread biscuit as well as an americano and an orange juice. Customers have to order and pay at the till and collect items that are ready immediately. We collected our drinks and biscuit and waited for the meat to arrive. Most people in Fernandez and Wells seemed to be testing out their wine selection which seemed extensive and varied but as I was with a T-total’er, I managed to control myself. Darn!
The ham eventually came out on a plate with good quality olive oil sprinkling and some toasted slices of bread. The bread with toasted but still chewy and the deep red meat contrasted with the white plate. The meat was smoked and melted in the mouth. As we sat outside nibbling on the bread and ham we really as if we were in the Paris or Barcelona. You could easily while away the time here on a summer afternoon or evening.
Inside as I said, it does seem tight for space as the till and coffee bar takes up a large proportion of the area and there are only bench like areas at the opposing side. However if you do wish to walk around the corner there is an additional seating area which hosts tables and benches.
Service is simple yet friendly – although slow at times – and the menu again is simple (cold food only) that is Spanish inspired. There are small dishes to share such as cold meats, cheese and houmous or large plates for individuals.
We liked the casual aspect of this place that is none the less top quality in its product origin and preparation. Coffees, meat and cakes are lovely – from a personal note – and the wine options certainly tempted me to distraction. We will certainly like to give this place a go for a full lunch or a evening meal location rather than out pit stop. As a result we give this place: