You might not be able to visit Spain this year, but don’t worry, our new menu brings you the very best Spanish cuisine has to offer, all served up with excellent vinos at all of our London locations.
We sit down with our Executive Chef, Nacho del Campo, to share his secrets on experimenting with dishes for the launch of our new menu, adding a Camino twist to traditional Spanish flavours. He talks about his childhood, his favourite dishes to cook and what to try on your next Camino visit!
Where did your inspiration for the new menu come from?
I wanted to continue to bring authentic Spanish food to London, using ingredients that are at the heart of Spanish cuisine. The new menu includes a range of dishes made with ingredients that bring back memories, such as visiting my family in Madrid, where I remember eating Boquerones (pickled anchovies, a typical tapa). We also get asked for Boquerones from time to time, so I’m happy to put these on our summer menu with smoked sardines from Cadiz in Andalusia in a dish called Matrimonio.
Lamb has always been a favourite of mine. For our new Suckling Lamb dish, the lamb comes from Burgos where my father is from and the taste brings back great memories from my childhood. We also love Sherry as you may know, so I looked into great pairings like figs and Pedro Ximénez (PX) sherry for blue cheese, Amontillado sauce for the lamb, PX sauce for the turrón, the list goes on!
Which is your favourite dish to cook and why?
There are so many favourites I have put together, but it would have to be the Suckling Lamb, Spanish lamb tastes very different to the lamb we have here in the UK, we slow cook it for hours and hours until is very tender then press the meat and pan-fry it. It’s served with celeriac and anchovy salad, with Amontillado lamb juice for plenty of delicious flavours! Another favourite is Aguachile – Spanish sea bass with a slightly spicy sauce, which is made from green chilli (we use jalapeño), ginger, garlic, lime juice, coriander and parsley, we then garnish it with cherry tomato, red onion and cucumber to create a very refreshing dish. This style of working with food is also an amazing and refreshing way to prepare fish and seafood (I love raw fish dishes just slightly cured). It brings back great holiday memories for me so it is great to introduce this onto the menu and share with our customers.
Is there any history around any of the new dishes?
All of our dishes aim to bring Spain to London in the most authentic way possible, it has always been important for me to draw from historical Spanish cuisine, so yes all of dishes have a history. One of our new postres, Tarta de Santiago, dates back to medieval times where Saint James completed a spiritual journey and walked the Camino de Santiago. This dessert has been a tradition ever since, with simple ingredients and beautifully decorated with the Saint James cross. We serve ours with turrón and PX sherry mousse – simple but always delicious!
Which elements complement each other the most?
I love cooking with wine, especially sherry as it is not only amazing to drink but also improves the taste of sauces, mousses and so on… There are lots of combinations to try together; our new menu has been planned to work flavours together no matter your taste buds. A staple dish on the menu is of course our Paella, we simply couldn’t be Spanish without it. We use Langostinos de Sanlúcar which are delicately flavoured prawns with a bright red colour, considered the jewel of the Mediterranean, and we also steam them for our Bar Pepito menu – they really are delicious!
How do you describe your overall cooking philosophy and how does this translate to working at Camino?
I like to use high quality ingredients yet when cooking simplicity for me is key, it’s the nature of Spanish cuisine. Adding in a little Camino twist makes it more fun and ultimately creates the Camino spirit we aim for in each and every dish. Cooking is my passion, that will never change – I am so grateful I can create these beautifully crafted dishes and share them with people, bringing my home land to central London.
We hope you are as excited as we are about the range of new plates we have to offer and hope to see you soon!