In the old Pizza Express premises in Whetstone, well-rated Muswell Hill tapas restaurant La Lluna now has a branch. We’ve never been to the original, so it’s been an entirely new experience for us. On my two visits so far, it’s been pretty positive.
My first visit was shortly after it opened in early September 2021. Clearly there were some teething problems with the staff, but every plate of food was delicious and served promptly. On my latest visit last week, again the food was without exception extremely good and the service had improved. My friend had a few dietary queries and our server checked with colleagues and was helpful with her answers, otherwise the menu indicates very clearly whether things are gluten or dairy free.
Both occasions were busy Friday nights when it is popular with lively groups: tables for two can feel a little hemmed in. It can get a bit noisy (and confusing for inexperienced staff). That said, the mood was friendly and good natured when dishes were mistakenly taken to a neighbouring table. The consistent quality of the food kept redeeming any slip ups and our good value bottle of Spanish rosé helped things along. Mark ups on wine are kept quite low, so you can drink well without feeling fleeced with plenty of decent options under £30 and some around £20 per bottle. Cava is from £27.50 a bottle and is a tasty, versatile choice for tapas.
Stand-out dishes include Tartar de Cangrejo (avocado stuffed with crab £7.95), Vieiras a la Plancha (scallops with crispy Serrano ham and a coriander, chickpea and roasted pepper purée £8.95), Dorada a la Plancha (£8.95) and deep-fried courgette flowers stuffed with goat cheese and drizzled with honey (£8.95). The croquetas are all great, the cured meat platter is impressive with Jamón de Teruel, Chorizo and Salchichon Ibérico de Bellota (£14.95) and their simple Tortilla Clásica (£6.95) which is thing of real beauty with an unctuous eggy seam running through it, rather than hard and dry. For something sweet, churros (£5) rounded things off nicely with some fresh mint tea.
La Lluna is popular and it’s open all day, the set lunch is great value at £13.95 for three courses or £11.95 for two and there’s a tempting breakfast menu. It’s an atmospheric old building with some cosy booths and corners as well as larger areas and there’s also a large outdoor terrace. Do look out for some historic features – like the beamed ceiling upstairs (while you’re queuing for the ladies!). Advance bookings recommended.
Monday to Thursday: 10am to 11pm
Friday: 10am to midnight
Saturday: 9am to midnight
Sunday: 9am to 10pm