Top Tapas: Casa Lola serves tasty food in a lovely atmosphere Photo: ÊIan Stratton
Reviewed by Katie Archer
A few weeks ago I visited the brilliant Las Fuentes in Purley and in particular could not stop thinking about their Mediterranean prawns.
So when the friend I went with told me there was a restaurant in Caterham owned by the former Las Fuentes boss, it seemed worth the visit.
Casa Lola is handily just around the corner from Caterham Station so if you're coming from out of the area it isn't too much faff to find.
Inside, the restaurant is absolutely pristine - there is not a speck of dust or dirt anywhere in this place - and it's dazzlingly bright and airy.
Casa Lola is as happy catering for a couple as for a big party, as we saw when we visited.
The sangria we tried is delicious and goes down very well, with a choice of either red wine or cava base.
While sipping the sangria and looking through the menu I was very pleased to find the same Mediterranean prawns listed there.
As well as these huge and delicious prawns we also chose calamares from the seafood options, which had just the right mix of crispy batter and soft squid.
Both being in a meat-free mood that evening, the only meat dish my friend and I chose was chorizo, but this went down very well, having none of the tough chewiness you sometimes find with this meat.
Aubergine baked with tomato sauce and cheese turned out to be the winner of the menu, with exactly the right amount of sauce to make the dish tender and flavoursome without being soggy. I think we could both have eaten a whole one of these ourselves.
Next we moved on to a vegetarian paella as a main course but unfortunately we had gorged ourselves so much on the tapas already that we weren't able to manage more than a few mouthfuls each.
The paella was slightly softer and runnier than I would usually like but it had a good flavour.
Helpful staff were happy to decant it into a takeaway box for my friend to enjoy later.
Croydon Road may not be particularly busy of a weekday evening but inside Casa Lola it's heaving - I'm sure this is a place the locals in Caterham would rather others don't get to know about.
Food: Spanish tapas
Cost: £48.60 for two including drinks
Wine: A decent choice and two types of sangria
Vegetarian: Plenty to choose from
Service: Very friendly and helpful
Parking: Can be difficult to find a space on the street
Verdict: Lovely food, lovely atmosphere
8 Croydon Road