Did you know that one of Herne Hill’s most loved haunts is about to hit its first decade? And it’s not been without its fair bit of strife, too: closed by a flood in August 2013, it only managed to re-launch at the end of last year.
Number 22 opened back in February 2005, the brainchild of ex-club promoter and DJ, Chris Adnitt, just after acclaimed Noho institutions Salt Yard and and Fino had caused a splash. Adnitt took a conscious decision to create a tapas bar that you might stumble upon in one of Spain’s more cosmopolitan cities rather than on the Costa del Sol.
“For years London’s tapas scene had been dominated by La Tasca-style restaurants that had nothing to do with modern Spain,” he says. “Number 22 took a modern, pan-Mediterranean approach to the tapas and small plates as well as introducing a cocktail list.”
But it all nearly went under with the Thames Water flood of 2013. On the 7th August at 5am, a 3ft-wide water pipe burst at the junction of Half Moon Lane. It caused substantial flooding to the road and over thirty properties in the area.
The upshot was that it allowed Adnitt a rethink of Number 22’s over all concept. “The tapas scene in London had changed drastically with the addition of excellent (and authentic) Spanish restaurants such as Barrafina, Morito, Brindisa, and Jose,” he says. “This was an opportunity to refurbish the space as well as to bring the concept up to date.”
So, fourteen months after the waters rose, he launched “a more Spanish-focused” menu, and replaced the cocktail offer with craft beers (from both Spain and London). Breakfast and lunch times have been revamped with a more open, café feel and a live music offering on Sunday nights. If you haven’t been for years, now’s the time to check it out.