What: A rice-focused restaurant that specialises in exploring Valencia’s gastronomic culture, specifically paella.
Who: Valencian chef Quique Dacosta, who was first employed as a chef in 1986 when he was just 14 years old. Over the past 30 years, Dacosta has built a global reputation as a pioneer of avant-garde cuisine, and is recognised for his artistic expression in the kitchen. His flagship restaurant in Dénia, the eponymous Quique Dacosta Restaurant, has held three Michelin stars since 2013, was ranked 68 on the World’s 100 Best Restaurants List last year, and has been twice named Best European Restaurant by Opinionated About Dining.
The food: The restaurant’s name directly translates from the Spanish as ‘rice’, and as you would expect there’s plenty of that on the Arros QD menu… in fact a whole section is devoted to the globally beloved carb. Prepared in the ‘traditional’ manner, in a pan over a wood fire, the menu’s centrepiece is a paella Valenciana that’s served with rabbit chop, chicken, butter beans, rosemary and aioli. There’s also paellas featuring Canadian lobster, cuttlefish and chilli aioli; a Mediterranean-style one with cuttlefish, tiger prawns and monkfish; and a vegetarian option prepared with seasonal vegetables. Desserts are limited to six choices, but the starters menu is extensive and features a crispy beef tartare with cured egg yolk, capers and mustard seeds; seasonal cherry tomatoes served with a tomato ‘snow’ and sundried tomato emulsion; and beef cheeks in a red curry stew with coriander, mint and coconut foam.
The vibe: Totalling 9000 sq ft, Arros QD is set across two floors, has 140 covers, and is split into four distinct areas including a lounge with bar seating, a chef’s table, and an ‘immersive’ paella counter that looks out over the open kitchen. In contrast to the menu, which is steeped in Spanish culinary tradition, the restaurant has a sophisticatedly contemporary appearance that features grand furnishings and a moody colour palette of browns and blacks.
And another thing: Dishes are almost exclusively designed to be shared between two or more people, but for those who fly solo there’s an extensive list of smaller rice dishes cooked in small rectangular ‘chapas’ pans to choose from. Dishes include wood pigeon breast served with wild mushrooms, rosemary and porcini aioli; seasonal vegetables and coriander aioli; and black ash rice with truffle.
64 Eastcastle St, Fitzrovia,