I had not had a good catch up with Lotte for a while, but since the sad demise of Barry (may his sweet Welsh soul rest in peace) and the need for a convivial dining companion, I was now doing so with aplomb. The candlelight and discreet booths at the Port House suited us to a tee.
Drinks are quite the thing here, no surprise given the Irish blood coursing through. We started with gintonics as big as your head, in true Spanish style (but with Dingle gin, because this is a Hibernian/Latin hybrid at its best) and a cheeky white port sangria. There is also a very keenly priced wine list taking in Spain and Portugal, and a great selection of ports, which we enjoyed, later on, with Manchego and Tetilla cheeses.
First came scorched Padron peppers and little White anchovies lined up so gracefully in their saucer. These went in a flash. Next, a glorious selection of Cured meats, including lomo, salchicòn and heavenly pata negra. We had only just begun, as the Carpenters might say, because we still had room for Prawns simmering lasciviously in garlic and proper, heady chorizo. And Confit duck sweetened with membrillo. And Croquetas de jamon. And Tortilla. Ahem, you get the picture. Tapas and pintxos are a special art, and it is an art, and they do it very well at the Port House. Just be careful of those gintonics - they are marvellously potent but you will be only too happy to order more food to soak up the booze. See, perfect hybrid.
The Port House, 417 Strand, Map E5, Tel 020 7836 7764