Chef Nieves Barragan-Mohacho has been a driving force for Spanish cuisine in the capital ever since her days at Spanish restaurant group Barrafina, where she was executive chef. So, when she and Barrafina colleague Jose Etura decided to go it alone in late 2017 and open Sabor, expectations were high.
Translating as ‘flavour’ in Spanish, Sabor is really two restaurants in one. Downstairs at The Counter the pair have created a buzzy and intimate tapas bar where diners sit and watch the chefs in front of them prepare a daily changing menu of small plates. The Counter’s no reservation policy means seats are hotly contested, but those lucky enough to bag one can enjoy dishes such as various croquettas; arroz negro; and Barragan-Mohacho’s trademark tortilla.
Ascend the spiral staircase and upstairs is El Asador, which offers an entirely different Spanish experience. Here the feel is more rustic but no less inviting with a menu focused on sharing dishes cooked in a traditional wood-fired oven (called an asador). Star of the show has to be the Segovian suckling pig, available in single portions or as a half or whole animal, although the Galician rib of beef and Iberian lamb ribs are also hard to resist.
If that wasn’t enough, the ground floor space is also home to a separate bar area where guests are encouraged to throw their paper napkins on the floor, as is the tradition in Andalusia.