Escondido in Spanish means ‘hidden’. It may also mean ‘hidden treasure’, as per another source. And that’s exactly what Escondido is – a treasure trove of tapas!
Some chatter on Twitter, before the launch of the restaurant actually led me to it and I decided to check it out once it opened. Located conveniently at the Illovo Post Office Centre in Johannesburg, the restaurant has a rustic charm to it. Mis-matched chairs, quirky lampshades, seating on crates outside the restaurant and a walk in wine cellar – all adding to the charm of the place. The vibe of the place is very relaxed and welcoming.
Menus are displayed on huge chalk boards, and are changed frequently. When I went a few weeks ago, there were at least 25 different tapas to choose from. Although the vegetarian selections were limited, I am told that more options have been added recently. I went with a party of four and we love to share. This gave us the chance to order a large number of tapas and given that they are small portions (as tapas should be), each of us could easily try 3/4 things!
We tried everything from potato bravas, southern coated chicken drums, fish goujons to yellow curry mussels, orange & sherry duck stir-fry and the ravioli carbonara. Each tapas was beautifully presented and tasted wonderful. Pricing is quite reasonable and I found them to be value for money.
The wine selection is quite good, given that Escondido has a walk in cellar. However, the waiters need a little more training on this front. We asked our server for the price of two bottles we had selected from the cellar, but he could only give us the information on one. We then just ordered wine by the glass, which I found to be a little over-priced. The cellar also has a private dining space. Besides wine, they also serve some wonderful cocktails and craft beers.
On the whole, I found Escondido to be an ideal place to catch up with friends over some great food. Will be going back soon to try some new tapas!