A hit in Borough Market, Lobos opens its second location in the heart of Soho
Lobos Meat & Tapas, Soho Review
Lobos Meat & Tapas opened their first location in Borough Market, in 2015 with help from experienced restauranteur, Ellen Chew. Less than two years on, Lobos’s second location in the heart of Soho promises to build on their strong reputation.
Founders, Roberto, Joel, Cortés and Ruben all met whilst working together in Brindisa and worked together for seven years before opening their Borough Market location. Lobos, which translates as ‘wolves’ is all about excellent cuts of meat, good wine, and great hospitality.
Their Soho location opened a few weeks ago and was offering 50% off food during their week long soft-launch. Antonia and I booked in for lunch on the Saturday.
We were seated on the upper floor, which features a small open kitchen with talented chefs on full view. The decor is simple but elegant and there’s a nice warmth to the place but space is tight. Very tight. With barely enough space to fit the slenderest of frames between tables, I think they’ve tried to cram a couple too many into this small area.
The menu reads like a carnivore’s wet dream, and focuses on prime cuts of Iberico:
- Secreto Iberico (‘hidden’ cut between the shoulder and the loin)
- Presa Iberico (the top shoulder)
- Solomillo Iberico (fillet)
All of these are cooked simply to allow the quality of the product to shine through. There is also a good selection of charcuterie and cheese available, including Manchego and Idiazabal as well as chorizo Iberico and hand cured beef cecina.
As we looked over the menu, one of the servers delivered the impressive Chuletón (£30) – Sirloin on the bone, to the couple next to us, which more than whet my appetite…
One of the founders, Joel, was buzzing around the place and stopped by for a chat at various points during our meal. Enthusiasm and passion poured out of him and gave us a real sense of what Lobos Meat & Tapas is all about. After a chat through some of the menu highlights, we got down to ordering.
Trying to pace ourselves ahead of a boozy evening, we ordered a couple of very disappointing Bloody Marys. Watery and with only a hint of spice, it was pretty far off the mark.
You can’t come to Lobos Meat & Tapas without trying at least one Iberico dish, and we opted for the Presa Iberica with roasted peppers (£12.50). Served medium rare, this isn’t a dish that everyone will be happy to eat, but it’s perfectly safe thanks to the quality of the product. The meat had quite a strong flavour, which again may not be for everyone but the meltingly soft texture and unique flavour was lovely, especially when paired with a slice of roasted pepper.
Joel insisted we try the Pork Cheek Slider (£5.50) and I insist you do too. The slow cooked cheek, meaty sauce, pickled red onion and mini bun were all top drawer and we ordered another before we’d finished the first.
Our other meaty dish was the Uruguayan Picanha Steak with baked bone marrow (£12.90). The steak was well cooked and served with a thick layer of fat on top. Add to this, the double portion of bone marrow, and you’ve got one hell of a rich dish.
The Green Salad of asparagus, courgette, frisse, green beans, baby gem, almonds, pistachios and lemon dressing (£6.25) was a good potion but the huge frisse leaves could have done with chopping down to size to make the whole thing easier to eat. Our Patatas Bravas (£4.50) was also a hassle to eat, served in a mini bucket (give me a plate!) but the excellent, punchy bravas sauce helped to make up for it.
My appetite for octopus is insatiable at the moment, so the Octopus Leg with sweet potato and chorizo (£18.50) was an easy choice and proved to be the best dish of the day. The size of the portion matches the big price tag and the execution was spot on. Octopus, chorizo and sweet potato is a classic combination and this dish just works perfectly.
We ordered the Turron Semifreddo, which was luxurious and creamy, and Joel sent over a slice of indulgent Dulce de Leche Cheesecake to really push our waistlines to the limit. This cheesecake is another Lobos dish that’s super rich, but so delicious that we had to finish it.
I love how the menu has been put together here – there’s an array of small tapas dishes if you’re in the mood for sharing, and plenty of larger plates if not. Speaking to Joel, it sounds like the plan is to frequently change up the menu to figure out what works. I can’t see the Pork Cheek Slider or Octopus Leg going anywhere, but some other dishes are less likely to be missed.
Lobos feels like the kind of place I’d want to pop into for a quick bite, but some dishes feel expensive and it’s all too easy to rack up a big, meat filled bill here. With some tweaking over the coming weeks, I’m sure they’ll find the right balance, and I’ll be back when they do.