Featured Restaurant: Terasano

4th May 2018

36 High Street • Ruislip • HA4 7AN • 01895 633128

Reviewed by Jill Glenn

Stepping into Toresano on Ruislip High Street is like stepping into Spain. Sadly, owner Isidro Cenizo can’t provide Spanish temperatures for an English spring, but what he can – and does – provide is atmosphere, with simple decor, guitar music on the sound system system, a warm Spanish welcome…

…and an extensive menu (including around thirty tapas) that sets my tastebuds tingling at first sight.

We arrive late. Very late. Isidro is gracious (after a jocular ‘what time do you call this?”), providing us almost immediately with a dish of good green olives, and a glass of the House Rioja, and allowing us plenty of time to decompress from our day before taking our order.

We start with three tapas dishes to share, plus bread and oil and vinegar. The Gambas al Ajillo (prawns cooked in olive oil, white wine, garlic and chillies) arrive looking exactly as I expect them to: sizzlingly hot and fragrant in their little terracotta dish. They are both tender and assertive, and we devour them without delay. Along with these we’ve ordered Chanquetes fritos (fried whitebait with paprika), which arrive fanned out on a plate, lightly coated and dusted with the paprika. They dance on the tongue, and the flesh is beautifully clean on the palate. Pleasingly they are not at all greasy. Finally, there’s a small Tortilla Española (Spanish omelette), which is a little dense but tasty – and filling. We try very hard to pace ourselves (although the bread calls us both…) in anticipation of further delights.

For the next course my companion opts for Filete de mero marinado (fillet of halibut in a Cava, asparagus and lemon and garlic sauce). Prettily presented in the centre of a white plate, it’s a generous portion. The texture of the fish is, of course, very meaty, but the Cava sauce adds moistness. It’s all very light and moreish, and accompanied by a dish of fresh vegetables and a small bucket of chips – crisp and delicious – that disappear before my very eyes.

Tempted as I am by some of the other mains, there is more on the tapas selection that I want to explore. I choose the Michirones a la Castellana (broad bean, ham and chorizo stew) and Espinacas con garbanzos (sautéd spinach with chick peas and peppers), which I know will go beautifully together, and I’m delighted with them the moment they arrive. The spinach dish – moist and full of texture – is the food of the gods: I’d be happy to eat nothing else for the rest of my life. The stew, also in a terracotta dish (perfect portion size for one) is excellent too, full of richness. The beans yield to lightest pressure on the tongue.

At the last minute, on a whim, I also ordered the Berenjenas fritas con miel (honey-coated fingers of aubergine). Living in a house where aubergine is considered the work of the devil, I find it hard to resist in a restaurant, although, even as I ask for it, I wonder if it will prove to be a mistake. It is not. In no way are these fritas the ideal accompaniment to either of my other choices, but they are utterly delicious. They remind me of the fritters my mother used to cook for me when I was a child, as a treat, although hers were filled with banana. These, festooned with rosemary, are sweet and mellow enough to be a dessert. I arrange my consumption accordingly…

…and we finish with a shared ‘proper’ dessert: Crema Catalana. It’s rather good; the topping is deliciously dark, and requires brisk tapping to break; the filling is nicely creamy. It’s unpretentious but deceptively refined. Just like Toresano.

TAPAS: £4.00-£6.50 • MAINS: £9.50-£28.00
DESSERTS: £4.50 • HOUSE WINE: £18.50

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