When I first went to London, suitcase and CV in hand in 2011, the first place I went was Clerkenwell. I knew exactly two things about Clerkenwell. It was where my cousin lived and so it contained the air mattress I would be sleeping on for my job hunt, and it was where Moro was. My first week there, I went to Moro with said cousin, armed with my parent’s credit card. I knew whatever job I found probably wouldn’t be able to fund regular visits, but next to it they had recently opened its smaller and cheaper tapas offshoot, Morito. When I went through the doors, it was love at first sight. I loved the buzzy, colourful, miniscule industrial space. I loved the eclectic style of the waitresses, the elegant carafes the wine was served in and most of all, I loved the menu. The menu made it feel like home.
Back in Ireland, Moro and Casa Moro had been prized members of the family cookbook collection for years. My mum regularly made their tabbouleh, and my dad was a dab hand at all kinds of mezzes and tapas gleaned from their pages. London was my third home in three years, and a pretty scary change from the quiet canals of Leiden. When I saw a menu I could practically recite, I knew London was going to work out. I ended up living around the corner from Morito in a building I am almost certain will be condemned and demolished in the not too distant future, a crumbling place drunkenly careening sideways into the building next to it. I made the London calculation of bad flat, good area, and Morito became a regular haunt. I think almost every visitor I had was brought there (in part as apology for not warning them my house was filled with black mold), and my housemates and I needed few excuses to go.
I can’t really call this a review. I have been to Morito so many times, and I am probably blind to its faults. Objectively, it is one of the most uncomfortable places to eat, it has four tables bundled in on top of each other with wooden stools, and bar space. The service can be slightly inattentive, though always friendly. Some of the tapas are miniscule compared to the price (I’m looking at you, berenjenas con miel). But it’s the only place in London I returned to time and time again, and when I go back to London I have a list of two things I have to do: see my friends, and go to Morito.
There is pretty much nothing I can’t recommend on the menu, but here are some of my favourites: croquettas con jamon, any form of patata they serve (mojo, alinada or brava), the tortilla, the bread with the perfectly blended harissa, beetroot borani, anything they make with chickpeas, chicarrones de cadiz,spiced lamb with aubergine, tabbouleh, any time they have langoustines, and the crab and Jerez montadito. The portions seem small when they first appear, but with a basket of bread to share, I usually find three tapas ample if one of them is a potato dish. The house wine demonstrates someone who takes pride in their wine list. I have never have a bad meal there, and hopefully nor will any of my readers.