Pulpo Negro | New Alresford (UK)

Excellent tapas, executed with great flavours, style and enthusiasm.
A combination of authentic and modern approaches to superb ingredients!

Driving through the pretty Georgian shopping street of New Alresford, a picturesque town in Hampshire (UK), Pulpo Negro catches our eye. It happened to be lunch time, so we decided to try it out.

Pulpo Negro (which translates as black octopus) is set in a characterful white painted townhouse, with a red Michelin Bib Gourmand sign hanging next to the entrance. The interior features exposed brick, rustic wooden tables are laid out on rough floorboards. And the open kitchen adds to the cosy and laid-back atmosphere. Pre-dinner drinks can be served in the cellar bar downstairs.

Pulpo Negro was opened by husband and wife Andres and Marie-Lou Alemany in the end of 2014. No rookies in the restaurant arena, as they already owned the nearby award winning pub The Purefoy Arms in Preston Candover since 2009. That pub changed owners last year and is now run by Chef Patron Gordon Stott.

Chef Patron Andres hails from Barcelona where he lived until he was nine, before the family moved to London. After college, Andres worked at several establishments in the capital, like the Oxo Tower, Mash and also for Simon Shaw at the fifth floor restaurant in Harvey Nichols. When working at Anglesea Arms in Hammersmith, Andres got to appreciate the pub scene, with a daily changing menu. This laid the path to struck out for deepest Hampshire and start his own dining pub together with his wife Marie-Lou.

Pulpo Negro is open from Tuesday to Saturday for lunch and dinner. The menu boasts a broad selection of tapas. With Picoteo (fingerfood), Charcuteria, Frituras, Chargrill & Plancha, Seafood, Tortilla, Vegetsbles and Dulce (desserts). Prices ranging for £3 to £17.50.

We had lunch three weeks ago on a Saturday and selected a number of tapas which we all shared. As it was a beautiful day, we sat outside at one of the three tables at the front.

Acorn Fed Jamon De Jabugo
Acorn Fed Jamon De Jabugo 25g (£9)
Fuet de Vic (£6)
Croguetas (£6.5)

The Jamon de Jabuga was of the best quality. Just melting in the mouth, releasing all it’s flavour and bringing a smile on your face. It made the fuet kind of standard, as it obviously couldn’t compete with the jamon. The croquettes were delicious. Perfect light crust and very tasty filling with bits of jamon in there.

Pintxos Morunos
Pintxos Morunos (£9)

Pintxos of tender and juicy pork tenderloin, well seasoned on it’s own, with the grilled pepper adding to that nicely. Very tasty indeed!

"Pregnant Bread" Sobrasada
“Pregnant Bread” Sobrasada (£4.50)

Lovely flaky pastry, filled with Sobrasada (a spreadable chorizo), sitting on some sweet honey and topped with grated cheese. Totally love these. What a joy!

Gypsy Potatoes, Trompettes & Yolk
Gypsy Potatoes, Trompettes & Yolk (£8)

Garlicky oven baked potatoes topped with grilled trompette mushrooms, a runny egg yolk oozing creaminess in the middle and dusted with mushroom powder to enhance the flavours. Bubble and squeak eat your heart out! Pure comfort and an eating delight.

Butchers Steak & Cornichons
Butchers Steak & Cornichons (£9.50)

Nice quality steak, grilled with precision. A bit to rare for some, but perfect for me. Maybe it would be good to ask how you want it cooked, instead of getting disappointed guests. Some cornichons and a lovely tarragon emulsion with that slightly bittersweet aniseed flavour, going perfectly with the beef.

Chicken Thighs, Almonds & Capers
Chicken Thighs, Almonds & Capers (£7.50)

Beautifully chargrilled chicken thighs with great seasoning. Served with flavoursome migas (Spanish breadcrumbs) toasted almonds, plenty of chives and lemony, olivey capers. This is an excellent tapa.

Courgette Fritters
Courgette Fritters (£6.50)

Tasty courgette fritters with yummy tomato and vinegar sauce, dusted with smoked paprika to give that special Spanish touch. The tomatoes are just put through a sieve, which releases their natural creaminess. Love it!

Crema Catalana
Crema Catalana (£5.50)

Already quite satisfied, but had to try one of the desserts. A scrumptious crema Catalana. Silky smooth with a touch of lemon and a great topping of caramelised sugar. Classic!

The staff are very cheerful, hospitable, but foremost very knowledgable about all dishes. From the ingredients to the preparations. Serving the dishes with pride.

The kitchen sends out an array of excellent tapas, executed with great flavours, style and enthusiasm. I love the combination of authentic and modern approaches to superb ingredients. The jamon, croguetas and classic crema Catalana recalling Spanish holidays. The chicken thighs and gypsy potatoes showcasing innovation with a Spanish twist to core Hampshire produce. A highly recommendable, culinary delightful find!