Drinks: A whole new package

Forget your preconceptions and head down to west London for authentic, cliche-free, Spanish food and drink
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Indy Lifestyle Online
Despite all those Almodovar films featuring sassy women in short skirts, Spanish food and drinks in Britain haven't managed to kick off their summer holiday flamenco and castanet associations. And no matter how often it has been suggested that it be served over ice, sherry hasn't quite succeeded in proving it's cool. Which is a shame, as it's a delicious, undervalued drink. If anyone can get us to appreciate it, the people at Lomo can. Opposite the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital on Fulham Road in west London, the doors of this tapas bar open on to the strip of street known as The Beach, traditionally the haunt of rich kids and, in the past, the site of some terrible bars and restaurants. Lomo goes against the grain with a fantastic list of Spanish drinks (and a few that aren't) and tapas that doesn't dumb down to teenage tastes. The aroma of garlic eddies around the bright room, decorated in orange and chrome and not an Iberian cliche to be seen.

Lomo's clientele - a diverse crowd, and plenty of Spanish aficionados - drop by for a drink or make a noisy night out on the tapas. Some order jugs of Sangria, though it's not the kind of place for an Ibiza holiday reunion; the one white Rioja flies out of the door and the sherry is starting to sell faster by the glass and half bottle. There are Spanish brandies, and liqueurs such as Patxarana (anglicised as Pacheran on the list), the sort of bottles brought back from holidays and filed under "drinks that don't taste anything like as good at home as they did on holiday". At Lomo, after a selection of sizzling tapas, they could remind you why you enjoyed them so much the first time.

Lomo, 222 Fulham Road, London SW10 (0171-349 8848). Open Mon-Sat 8.30am- 11pm, Sun 10am-10.30pm.

Albarino Lagar de Cervera 1998, Lagar de Fornelos, Rias Baixas

A Spanish wine (what else?) from the Rias Baixas in Galicia, the rainier north-west of the country. Albarino is an indigenous grape producing delicious fresh, peachy, aromatic white wine. It's the same grape used in Portugal for Vinho Verde. The wines aren't cheap, but they are refreshingly fragrant and different. This one isn't served by the glass at Lomo, and, at pounds 19.50, it's one of the more expensive bottles, listed as "up and coming". Here its time has come as an alternative to predictable whites.

Inocente fino sherry

Valdespino, based in Jerez, is one of the two traditional family-run sherry houses represented on Lomo's list - the other is Lustau. Fino is the palest of the sherries, bone dry, and usually drunk cool as an aperitif. Of the two fino sherries, one from each bodega, the barrel-fermented Inocente from Valdespino is the fuller-bodied, with a gingery warmth and creamy smoothness underlying the sea-breezy tang. It's served chilled in a copita - for pounds 2.25 - as an aperitif or with tapas.

Lomo drinks

Etxeko Patxarana

This is a Spanish liqueur which oddly combines sloes and anise, an intriguing mixture that's more subtle than it sounds, and could make an unusual end to a satisfying series of Spanish drinks. This is one of the drier versions of this digestif, which is a cult in Navarra. Lomo recommends serving it with ice. But better still have it without the ice - and let the warm, plum-like sloe emerge on top of the anise. n

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