The Social Tapas Bar Willesden Green by Maria Kuehn

halloumi skewers
patatas bravas
Pincho moruno
Fillet steak 

Sunday lunch, my favourite part of the week.  More so today as the second cafe had to be worked on before finding a suitable place to have a bite with my pal and biz partner.
The Social is a small, intimate, rather cool restaurant with a very large bar area and a nice, relaxed atmosphere. A cursory glance at the menu had me wishing I’d rocked up for brunch, (both meat and vegetarian) a handsome and eclectic offering at just over £6.
Whilst perusing the tapas dishes, we sipped on a very nice carafe of le bois de violette, a stonking, pale rose that I could have sworn came from Provence, but was actually from the pays d’herault (£18).
I’d noted that the food was very good looking, produced with care and attention to detail. My carnivorous desires were knawing at me and so I decided to have the fillet steak which was served on some toasted bread with a cheese that I’d never heard of (£11.90) and sadly escapes me. Zina went for the lighter option of the chicken skewer, (£6.50) halloumi and pepper skewers (£4.50) and we shared some patatas bravas (£4.50). I couldn’t see a mixed salad on the menu, which was odd if nothing else, but the waitress gladly offered to make a salad for the small charge of £2.50. Nice touch.
Well now, let’s start with the very good, always my greatest pleasure in sharing. The steak was cooked as if the chef knew me personally. Juicy, very pink and utterly moorish. What I didn’t really get was the rather bland, gooey cheese that smothered it like a blanket on a fire. The bravas were probably the best I’ve had in the UK. A mountainous portion of them glistening with a pungent garlic aioli – simply delicious.
The halloumi skewers looked lovely, the quality of the cheese was excellent, the peppers nicely charred and they came with a fine dusting of chives to give the dish an oniony lift.
The salad was lovely and fresh, the dressing subtle and the portion generous.
The chicken skewers, however, were a total waste of time. Dry and overcooked and I didn’t detect a hint of any herb or spice to make them interesting.
I also ordered a virgin Mary (I was driving, not insane) and this also lacked any depth but had a lot of heat. No Lea and Perrins and I’m sure, no celery salt either. Tut.
Look, at the end of the day they got most things right. I”d go back very happily to try the brunch and it’s the sort of place to which you you could take your Sunday papers. They have a nice seating area outside should the sun decide to visit and the service is sunny and polite.
The bill, including wine, including five generous tapas, a soft drink, an espresso and tea came to £55 including service. It’s very nearly there. Iron a few things out and I”m sure The Social will build up a loyal, local clientelle.

The Social
21 Walm Lane
London NW2 5SH
0207 451 4052 (website coming soon)
The Social Willesden Green (Facebook)

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