Fino, London

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Indy Lifestyle Online

This contemporary tapas bar has been a welcome addition to Charlotte Street's burgeoning, cool dining scene.

This contemporary tapas bar has been a welcome addition to Charlotte Street's burgeoning, cool dining scene. Once you're ushered into the airy basement by the friendly doorman, you'll notice an interior that is a veritable sea of blond wood panelling, frosted glass and vivid reds - and it overlooks an open-view kitchen. Along with a busy and buzzy dining area, there's a mezzanine bar that's just as popular. Chef Jean Philippe Patruno's unusually chic tapas-only menu offers such tongue-tinglers as baby octopus with squid ink risotto; crispy shrimps and clams with ham and sherry; chorizo with white beans; diver-caught scallops cooked on plancha grill; foie gras with chilli jam; asparagus with shaved manchego; and the much swooned-over succulent and smoky milk-fed lamb cutlets. Co-owned by brothers Eddie and Sam Hart, whose family own the renowned Hambleton Hall in Upper Hambleton, Fino eschews flashiness in favour of elegant, understated cool, and relies on its stylish ingredients to speak for themselves. And if you still think that sherry is only for your Auntie Ethel, the variety listed here will come as a revelation.

Fino, 33 Charlotte Street (entrance Rathbone Street), London, 020 7813 8010, www.finorestaurant.com, Mon-Sat 12-2.30pm, 6-10.30pm, bar snacks available all day. Meal for two, excl wine: £75

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