Cigala is a small neighbourhood Spanish restaurant found at 54 Lamb's Conduit Street in London’s Bloomsbury area. At such a location, Cigala is frequented by legal and publishing professionals. Celebrities are (not) spotted there having incognito drinks and tapas. Virginia Woolf and E. M. Forster would go there if they weren’t otherwise occupied. But why? Cigala isn’t flashy. And that’s it – Cigala discreetly offers some of the most authentic Spanish food around, made using the best ingredients, often imported directly from Spain. Then there’s the wine.
Cigala’s owner is also Cigala’s chef. Jake Hodges, formerly of Moro in Clerkenwell,
has created a haven for lovers of authentic Spanish food and wine that is modest in
manner. An unostentatious oasis in the heart of busy Bloomsbury, Cigala is a haven
for the media types (and, yes, celebrities) who frequent the area. But don’t make the
mistake of thinking that Cigala is exclusively for London’s elite. Far from it, Cigala’s
affordable prices means that at 54 Lamb's Conduit Street, infamous tapas, paella
and more are well within reach.
The incredibly well-researched, informative wine list is a strong contender for being the most extensive Spanish selection around Bloomsbury or indeed in London. At Cigala’a 54 Lamb's Conduit Street premises, lesser-known Spanish whites are lined up against the reds you’d expect – plus a handful you wouldn’t – and the list runs through to cava, sherries, rosado, brandies and liqueurs. Deserving of our thanks, Cigala has also efficiently whiled away the years developing an in-house list of Spanish cocktails, should the wine selection prove just too intimidating.
I'm an occasional diner at Cigala and the food is always superb. From the bread and oil, through chicken livers and gambas, the preparation and taste is very, very good. The sherry and wine list is also a joy. This time I went for the (pricey) Negre de Negres, which is probably about the best wine Spain can offer today. For me, a destination choice in the always enjoyable Lambs Conduit.
Excellent authentic Spanish tapas; high quality wine list. Friendly and efficient service, A relaxed atmosphere. What's not to like? Highly recommended for everyone, whether eating out on your own or in a group.
Great service, we were entertaining a client and although they couldn't reserve it in advance we were able to seamlessly get a table outside to enjoy the weather. Food excellent as always.
Always love Cigala, great food and an even better wine list. On a sunny evening sitting outside on beautiful Lambs Conduit Street there is nowhere better.
Cigala is a lovely space, set in a great location, serving excellent food. Service is relaxed, friendly and efficient and the menu offers a wide range of tapas and a great selection of main courses. There's a fabulous wine bar opposite for an aperitif and a superb pub with a range of ales a little way down the street. That said, Cigala's drinks menu is great as well, with some nice wines and a good selection of sherries to complement their Spanish dishes. The pan con tomate is consistently and mouthwateringly good and the coliflor frita (served with aioli) is a stand-out dish.
The food at Cigala is excellent. Good ingredients, well cooked, elegantly and simply presented. The tapas are great, they also have a set menu lunch and dinner and a la carte. I had the grilled calamare a la plancha with mojo verde - nicely caramelised and beautifully presented, Bacalao fritters with aioli, Ensalata primavera and Chicken livers sauteed in Pedro Ximenez sherry - sweet, rich and unctuous. Pudding - a very rich dark chocolate and almond cake/tart thing was delicious. Good house red. Bread and olive oil was very nice but a £3 extra. Cost and service let the occasion down a bit. Over £50 for tapas seems a bit much to me and then they add on "discretionary service" daring you to take it off. I may have been unlucky with the lad who was looking after me - he seemed new and nervous. Aside from dropping things, he seemed to forget a lot of things - his bill pad twice, to take the order , to get the water, to bring a bill. Either service is a fixed cost in which case it is non discretionary - fine, lets just be clear about that. Or it is genuinely discretionary for good service - in which case don't presume to put it on the bill.
What initially seemed like a quiet little understated venue turned out to be an excellent Spanish restaurant with a cool buzzy feel. Steeped in an overall authenticity to the cuisine and the surroundings, it was my first visit to Cigala but not my companions who were very happy to return when I told them of my booking it. We shared a number of tapas plates with Sherry and Red Wine accompaniments. After devouring everything we moved on to a heavenly mixed platter of deserts. I am sure I'm late to discovering Cigala on one of London's coolest streets - Lamb Conduit, but I'm glad I've found it now.
This was our second visit to Cigala, and even more pleasant than the first! We came with a friend who was born and grew up in Malaga, Spain, and who enjoyed the food. The four of us were very happy with our shared tapas, with the excellent and friendly service, and with the relaxed atmosphere. We wish we could return one more time before flying back to the US, and we will be looking forward to returning to London--and especially to Cigala! Thanks!
Cigala is always lovely--the food is sophisticated, not your basic Spanish fare, but rather carefully balanced flavours and nice little twists. The service is friendly, they know their wines (and the selection is nice and well priced) and the spot is one if my favourites: a charming, quiet corner on lamb's conduit and a huge wrap-around window that allows the light in and your gaze out on to the street. And if the weather is nice, there are tables outside! It's a perfect little spot, with wonderful food.
We ate at 8 PM on a Saturday, so were not expecting peace and quiet. But it was very raucaus, to the point where the meal was spoilt. The restaurant badly needs to soften the interior walls and ceiling, both of which are hard surfaces. Nothing to be done about the glass walls, of course. So be warned this is not a relaxed venue. The two servers were polite and only got one dish wrong, tho to be fair another server was badly needed, either that or a table clearer, which job the servers were also doing. The food was mixed in quality - with the salads being tasty and creative. Excellent Spanish wine list. Give Cigala a try if you like for lunch during the week, but definitely avoid crowded times. It would also help if certain patrons could be mindful of their own contribution to the noise level; one table of well-dressed 20 somethings were hooting like they were in a pub on a Friday after work.