CAMINO WAS INSPIRED BY A LIFE–CHANGING ROAD TRIP IN THE SUMMER OF 1984…
…driving across Spain from north to south and back in blazing heat in a tiny old black Mini. The landscape, the people and the lifestyle made a deep and everlasting impression, and left a burning need to recreate a piece of España back home in London.
The Camino team have made countless journeys since, travelling all over the country and experiencing the true nature of Spain and its food and drink. Each time we come back with amazing memories and fresh ideas. And from time to time, a van crammed full of lovely old Spanish clobber from street markets and antique shops, that would later proudly adorn our walls.
Camino would be nothing without its people, and as such, we always do our best to ensure the happiness, progression, and support of our staff. We have a fantastic training and development programme for all new starters, and offer competitive pay and sales incentives. As a company, we have a heavy focus on upskilling and improvement, and our staff are offered industry standard hospitality qualifications, including monthly wine training and WSETs.
We want our staff to enjoy working with us and join us on the ‘Camino’, and that’s why we run staff trips to Spain several times a year – to meet our suppliers, and soak up some Spanish culture (plus, of course, plenty of wine). Click Journal to see where the staff have visited.
Our Executive Chef Nacho del Campo hails from Vitoria, the capital of the Basque Country, a region recognised as the gastronomic heartland of Spain. It’s a place where wonderful food and drink, friends and family are central to living, and Nacho brings those values to Camino.
Nacho’s style of cooking stays true to his roots – honest food and authentic flavours using only the best ingredients made all the more exciting with his incredible passion and creativity, “I like to showcase the varied and exciting produce Spain offers ” he says. “I treat ingredients with respect and put flavour and freshness centre stage.”
My love of Spain started with my first trip there in the summer of 1984, a wonderful road-trip driving all over the country in a tiny black Mini (definitely the wrong colour for the severe heat in La Mancha in July).
I drove down through France and across the border into Spain, down through Catalunya and Aragón, stopping in Zaragoza and Toledo on the way down south to Malaga, then back up to Madrid via beautiful Seville and some of the enchanting towns in Extremadura such as Badajoz, Mérida, Trujillo and Cáceres.
I stayed a week in Madrid with an old school friend, driving around the neighbouring countryside having a wild time, staying out all night in the city and then having churros con chocolate before heading home as it was getting light.
I found the country infectious and intoxicating, the vivid colours; the extremes of heat, the incredible diversity of the landscapes, the open-hearted people, and of course the food and drink. I’ve been back well over 120 times, with family, friends or staff. I’m always excited about going, and every trip thrills me as much as the last.
Back in 2006, I managed to convince my co-directors to harness my passion and knowledge into our next venture. Discovering the various regions, each with its own clearly defined identity, and so diverse in their geography, climate, food, drink and culture, I had of course travelled along countless caminos – road, way or path – so what better name for the place? It’s been a wild and wonderful ride, and all of us at Camino remain excited for the road ahead.
Founder and Managing Director
Food & Drink
Our Executive Chef, Nacho del Campo, uses top quality, seasonal ingredients to create bold, fresh and exciting tapas. Nacho’s cooking techniques coupled with our Basque Country grills mean that people often tell us the food tastes just as good, and often better, than what they’ve had when on holiday in Spain itself!
Our passion for authenticity doesn’t end with the food. We serve some of Spain’s best beers and use the finest spirits in our cocktails. Spain is one of the most exciting, dynamic wine regions in the world, and our Founder Richard Bigg takes enormous care in seeking out superb Spanish wines, to put together a list that is quality-driven, diverse and showcasing wines with strong identity. Resisting the temptation to have a self-indulgently long list, instead he’s gone for something very succinct, allowing you to choose easily and give you more time to get on with enjoying your meal. We’ve received several top accolades for our wine list, (including winning best Spanish Wine List in the UK) a huge honour we’re immensely proud of.
At Camino we care about the wider impact we have on the world around us. We try to run our restaurants in a way that is good for everyone, from making sure everyone who works with us enjoys what they do, to using the best quality ingredients in our food to ensure we’re all proud of what we produce. We’re committed to reducing our environmental impact, treating our staff and suppliers as well as possible, and helping charities where we can. Read on for how we do it…
Our Executive Chef, Nacho del Campo, works hard for us to be as sustainable as possible, whilst getting the best quality seasonal ingredients that are sourced as locally as possible.
The meat we buy comes from farmers who can guarantee the best quality of life possible for the animals.
The acorn-fed ibérico pigs that provide our jamón bellota come from the Dehesa, the holm oak covered woodlands in Extremadura in western Spain. They wander up to 20kms a day foraging for acorns, and lead a pretty idyllic life.
Our beef comes from the Asturias in northern Spain, and we use ex-milker cows that are at least five years old for a better longer life and greater depth of flavour (this is almost double the age of slaughter in the UK). Their pastures are the lush hilly grasslands of this beautiful northern part of ‘Green Spain’.
All of our fish is sourced sustainably from British coasts and is MSC approved.
We work with Clarence Court to source our top quality free range Old Cotswold Legbar eggs from happy chickens.
Fruit and vegetables are sourced as locally as possible from either within the UK or Europe wherever we can, and never air-freighted.
We insist our suppliers deliver with the minimum amount of sustainable packaging.
We’re very proud to say that we’ve worked for many years with Action Against Hunger, an incredible charity that works to eliminate child hunger with vital nutrition programmes around the world. We donate 50p from every dish of chorizo sold, and we sell a lot of chorizo! In 2017 our Managing Director, Richard, was one of 20 chefs and others in hospitality that took part in a six-day trek through Nepal, raising just over £9k for the charity. Read more about Richards trek here here. In 2020 our Finance Director, Tsara, went on a mammoth trek through the Jordan Desert and raised over £6k bringing our total raised so far with all of the chorizo 50p donations to over £100k.
As a restaurant we try to minimise our impact on the environment as much as possible, following the ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ mentality. We work with PURE Water Company, whose ethos is built on a philosophy of sustainability. Working with PURE means we are able to filter, chill and bottle water on site using local mains water, significantly reducing the environmental impact of plastics and our carbon footprint.