The team behind Lobos Meat & Tapas are preparing to bring their “little village bar experience” to Soho with the confirmation of a new prime site.
As revealed in July by MCA, the fledgling meat and tapas bar concept is due to launch a second branch on 48 Frith Street, the former home of Matt Hermer-run Top Dog Diner.
Lobos co-founder Ruben Maza said the Grade listed II site was “a dream” and said the concept would probably grow to three over all.
The brainchild of former Tapas Brindisa employees Roberto Castro, Maza and Joel Placeres, Lobos is backed by London-based Singaporean Ellen Chew, who also owns Rasa Sayang in Chinatown; noodle bar Noodle Oodle in Bayswater; hand- pulled noodle kiosk Lotus Leaf in Stratford; and Japanese teppanyaki eatery Chikara in Shepherd’s Bush.
The first Lobos site opened in Borough Market in June 2015, with the Soho branch due to open in mid-November, following a refurbishment of the first floor.
Ruben said: “Frith Street is an iconic street and site is a dream, when we saw it we couldn’t believe it. We cannot see Lobo in a new development stainless steel glass concrete. We needed something that was quirky across different floors with an open kitchen.”
The 80 cover site will be split across three floors, with a ground floor charcuterie bar serving wine and sherry with casual high seating for walk ins and bookings. The first floor dining room will have an open kitchen, while a basement bar will serve wine and cocktails.
The food offer will combine tapas small plates with large sharing cuts of meat, including prime cuts of Iberico pig, milk-fed Castillan lamb and beef from The Ginger Pig.
Over 15 months of trading in Borough Market, Maza said Lobos had built up a solid reputation and repeat custom through word of mouth, without marketing campaigns.
He said while UK customers were well accustomed to tapas-style eating, there was still scope to develop the range and quality of Spanish dining.
“People are very well aware about croquette and meatballs, but they might not know that in Spain we do these massive steaks that we throw in the grill and put on the table for sharing”, he said.
“We want to give flexibility of the small portions, but also offer the possibility of having a huge feast of meat.”
He said the concept would probably not grow beyond three sites - unless someone else joined the team who had the same passion.
“We always had in our minds that we needed three sites”, he added. “We’ve worked for bigger companies, which are great, but at a certain point you’re no physically capable of being on the ground looking after customers, making sure everything is in tip top condition. You have a more remote way of managing and lose what you’re trying to achieve, which is a little village bar experience. We want the customer to feel they are in the local pub or bar, but with a Spanish experience of tapas and wines.”