Arros QD | Fitzrovia Rice Restaurant From A Three-Star Chef
After having received the rare double distinction of both being edgy enough to get onto the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list and yet also reserved enough to snatch up 3 Michelin Stars at his self-named restaurant in Spain… Quique Dacosta was in a position to do anything he wanted.
And the thing he wanted to do was open a rice restaurant in London.
Well, it looks like their loss was our grain.
His new Fitzrovia restaurant – Arros QD – is a palace of paella, with eminently stylish decor throughout. The walls are furnished with subtley varnished wood and gleaming glazed tiles, while the floors are dressed with intricately embroidered rugs. There are no white tablecloths or leather chairs, and it’s got an atmosphere of casual ease… but it still feels like you’re in a space drawn up with millimetre-perfection.
The menu gets going with a few non-rice dishes just for good measure, including smoky oysters with coconut puree; yuca charcoal with deep fried cassava; and some monkfish & spicy miso skewers. You can get something scorched on the kitchen’s 6m long custom grill too, with wood-fired dishes including a hulking tomahawk steaks for up to four (!) people, and charcoal-seared numbers like a marinaded Scottish skate wing.
Then, the rice.
It’s all cooked on wide, ironcast pans over a wood fire, to make sure it all cooks completely evenly. The dishes are brought directly to the table so people can share them, then scrape up the crust on the bottom of the pan (aka the ‘socarrat’). Each pan is then acid-washed each night, so as to make it as sparklingly pristine as possible for the next day.
You’ll find ‘traditional rice’ (Paella Valenciana, for instance, with rabbit, chicken, and garrafo bean) and ‘contemporary rice’ like their smoked ‘dashi’ eel with katsuobushi, white sesame seeds, and black garlic aioli. There’s even a rare variety called “black ash rice” with truffle.
The desserts include a rather novel ‘giant cookie’ with macadamia nuts & vanilla ice cream, as well as a cheesecake with biscuit ice cream and almond paper.
The very good news is that a single paella dish is easily large enough for two people, and they start at £38. That, with a couple of sides/desserts should make for a decent, and none-too pricey meal, making it a particularly good bargain given the quality. If you want to push the boat out, however, you most certainly can.
But be warned: there is no rice pudding.
NOTE: Arros QD is open Mon-Tues 12-2.30pm and 6-9.45; Wed-Thurs 12-2.30pm and 6-10.30pm; Fri-Sat 12-3.30pm and 6-11pm; Sun 12-4pm. You can find out more, and make a booking at the website right HERE.
Arros QD | 64 Eastcastle St, Fitzrovia, W1W 8NQ
Like rice? Then check out Brindisa’s brunch…