The current foodie fashion of Fusion cuisine is rarely super successful, and I am a bit of a Latin American food snob, so I was concerned that the complicated name might reflect an identity crisis at The Providores and Tapa Room restaurant in Marylebone. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised.
The two-story restaurant on Marylebone High Street has a difficult name, but in practice it’s a very simple two-pronged dining approach in one of London’s posher areas (Madonna and Gwyneth live nearby). Downstairs is a bustling lively tapas bar with Latin American inspired paintings and a massive bar bursting with bottles of everything. The festive music and delicious cocktails fuel the happy chatter from the diners who piled in on a Monday night to pack out simple wooden tables and booths at this no reservations tapas room. The Tapa Room also offers a breakfast and brunch menu, our server mentioned. She never tires of the food and brings friends in often for Brunch. A good sign, surely, when the staff dine here often.
Upstairs, The Providores is a sleek, all white dining room with gracious and professional staff, low music and a much more involved and delicious menu of Latin American ingredients with Asian and Middle Eastern spices. We ate lovely combinations of things like Sweetcorn and Chilli soup with umeboshi crème fraiche, and Plantain Coconut Fritters with babaganoush. Then there were the Grilled Scottish scallops on Stornoway black pudding and lime salsa with wasabi crème fraiche and the crispy Cajun roat pork belly on green pepper cornbread with tomatillo jalapeno chutney and pickled nectarine.
At dessert time, the table of six next to us was served practically the entire dessert menu, we literally pointed at what looked good and had them bring us two of the yummiest desserts I have had in a while: The Raspberry financier was a delicious warm cake with homemade vanilla ice cream on the side, and the Pistachio, apricot and dried sour cherry pastry was more like Lebanese sweets than a flaky European pastry. Both were scrumptious and had to be squeezed in!
While I can recommend The Providores and recommend its foods and its fine wine selection, as the cheery chatter from downstairs wafted in as doors opened and closed upstairs, we both would have rather been downstairs in the jovial Tapa room with the plain old posh folks from Marylebone!
109 Marylebone High Street
London, W1U 4RX, United Kingdom
+44 20 7935 6175