Bringing a taste of Spain to Smithdown Road, Neon Jamon imports ideas and ingredients from Catalonia, the Basque country and even the Balearics to present authentic flavours via a selection of small plates perfect for sharing alongside jugs of sangria and Cava.
Jamon by name, jamon by nature, and they’re really hamming it up with the “charcuteria” section, supplied by Casalba, based near the UNESCO City of Gastronomy, Burgos. There’s salchichon Iberico de Bellota, a peppery cured salami made from lean acorn-fed pork, and the similar but smaller fuet Iberico, which is naturally dried in a floral casing to give it a distinctive flavour. Another acorn-fed pork sausage is the chorizo Iberico de Bellota, made from the best bits of the meat, hand-diced and cured, then there’s the loin from the same pigs, lomo Iberico de Bellota. The crème de la crème, if we can say that, is the grand reserve vintage five-years cured jamon Iberico de Bellota – “the jewel of the bodega”, the menu says, and available as small or large plate. Can’t decide or fancy a taste of them all? Order the Iberico Bellota meat platter. You can do the same with the cheeses – Manchego, blue Azul and Mahon, from the island of Menorca. There’s also oozing breadcrumbed and fried balls of goat’s cheese listed under “garden”, along with a selection of plant-based dishes, including the likes of warm chickpea and artichoke salad and a garlicky puree of white beans from Basque neighbour Navarre, served with sauteed tenderstem broccoli and chilli, and a zingy mojo sauce. There’s potato tortilla and patatas bravas, of course, and classics the likes of albondigas meatballs and sardinas a la plancha. Other seafood includes mini calamari and clams cooked in fino sherry; hot meat dishes include slow-cooked pork ribs with rosemary, quince and honey, eight-hour Rioja-braised beef cheek with zhug paste, and skewers of paprika-marinated chargrilled chicken pintxos with Romanesco sauce.
Desserts include another Basque favourite of churros with chocolate dipping sauce as well as tarte de Santiago, an almond cake with orange cream, and traditional crèma Catalana.
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