A Slice of Spain on the South Bank

The culinary masterminds behind Borough Market’s famed Applebee’s Fish have pulled out all stops with their latest venture: La Gamba. Situated on London’s South Bank – dotted with chain restaurants – La Gamba is a welcome addition as a completely independent eatery. This riverside tapas restaurant’s appeal is twofold, delicious Spanish cuisine and gorgeous views.

At 7pm on a blustery evening, La Gamba is humming with activity. It is little wonder why. With its prime position along the Thames, it is unmatched in convenience for those heading to The Royal Festival Hall, National Theatre or BFI. Although obviously very popular for a pre-theatre meal, La Gamba is also a fabulous spot for brunch, lunch or after-work tipple. 

We bypass the outside terrace – it is January after all – and head inside, into a warm embrace. Designed by the talented Basque Architect, Cristina Lanz Azcarate of Atelier EURA, La Gamba’s interiors are a symphony of natural terracotta, stone and oak, reminiscent of summers in Spain.

The menu is a journey through Spain’s diverse culinary landscape, complemented by thoughtfully curated cocktails and an enticing wine selection that transports you from the Douro River to the enchanting hills of Rioja.

Although La Gamba’s menu draws inspiration from all corners of Spain, it shines a spotlight on the north-western Galician region, renowned for its 1,500 kilometers of coastline and seafood expertise. Imagine seafood delicacies, hearty plates, world-famous cheeses, and traditional Galician almond-based sweets. Drinks-wise, diners are spoilt for choice with in-house Vermouth, an array of Sherries, Sangrias and even a dedicated Spanish gin menu.

Naturally we start with Wild Argentinian king prawns cooked in their shell – apparently for extra flavour – with extra virgin olive oil, garlic, chilli and parsley. Fat and juicy, they are utterly delicious. After soaking up the very last bit of garlicky goodness with pan rustico we order St. Austell Mussels bathed in albariño and chorizo sauce, Cornish crab croquettes with squid ink, Spanish tortilla with Sobrasda (served runny, as it should) and a 120g grass-fed rib eye tapa, served with chimichurri.

The sweet acidity of heritage tomatoes, onion, oregano and mint perfectly complement the delicate marbling of the meat, so does our bottle of Merlot from Navarra, bursting with wild berries. Certainly not needed, but we end with Burnt Basque cheesecake and Torrijas, a decadent Spanish take on French Toast. 

After all, one must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter.



Unit 3, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, London SE1 8XX