A short Spanish menu focused around deliveries of prime seafood from Shetland,. No wonder Maresco is moor-ish.

Restaurateur Stephen Lironi is a lucky man, he gets to eat the best Scottish seafood as often as he wants. Either at his Bar Esteban in Crouch End, Escocesa in Stoke Newington and now at Maresco in Soho.

If you’re a Stephen Fry, you may have noticed that both Escocesa and Maresco are puns on the Spanish for Scotland,  ‘Escocia’ you clever, darling, bunnikins.

Senor Lironi, a Glaswegian by birth, is bringing the best of Scottish seafood that’s otherwise snapped up by the dastardly Spaniards, to the safe shores of London. Maresco is the first place to dock centrally on a lively corner of Berwick Street.

It has a cool tapasy bar feel, not dissimilar to the many other Spanish places in Soho, with the best seats being at the counter where you can watch the fish get landed and get expertly dealt with by Head Chef Pablo Rodriguez and his team. You can also see the langoustines, which are so fresh they wave at you.

Like I say, it’s a short menu, it changes daily which is a good idea in Soho if you want to get repeat business. A preponderance of X’s in the names of dishes indicates that many are Catalan, which is for my money the best eating area in all of Spain.

We perch on stools facing that kitchen (if you prefer you can face the lively street, or dine more formally downstairs). The stools don’t rotate, which is good as I have spun to the floor in many a tapas bar, and not always after drinking.

Jumping randomly around the day’s menu – Specials, Para Picar, Mariscos but no Carnes – we eat wonderfully squidgy anchovies (boquerones) dressed with grassy olive oil and just a sprinkling of garlic and parsley. An additional hint of vinegar is just enough to make them sparkle brightly.

In Barcelona I once ate in an untidy, unnamed, restaurant where they claimed to have invented The Bomba:  mashed potato balls usually stuffed with meat, shallow fried and eaten with mayo or, I am sorry to say, ketchup.

Maresco have had the very good idea of stuffing their bombas with mussels, topping off with a jaunty splodge of mayo and serving up on a fresh tomato sauce base, rather than with ‘red sauce’. Freshly crisp from the fryer, these are winners all the way.

We try various sherries, as recommended by the cheerful staff. Lironi is rather fond of sherry and his cellar is excellent. Fino or manzanilla are always best with fish.

Squid ink, what an ingredient. It gives a demonic colour to paella rice and tastes sinfully dark and dangerous. Black rice here comes straight from the raging Josper oven in a charming square tin, not a paella pan, and with three gorgeous hunks of roasted halibut poking out. Small cuttlefish bob in the sea of rice which is densely flavoured and we share it all, happily scraping the tin.

We’re not so keen on monkfish a la maranere, the fish seemed a bit dry and lacking in taste and the mussels not as fresh as they perhaps might have been, but we did love the Txistorra de mar with spicy yoghurt served on talo, a mini Basque tortilla.

A Txistorra is a sausage, this one is made of mackerel and monkfish. I like it, my companion not so much. She lived in Barcelona many years back, so I bow to her opinion. I’d happily have it again, though. She also points out that the background music is Salsa music by the Fania All Stars, very popular in 90s Barcelona.

I watch my dessert of Torrija (bread pudding) being made from scratch, it’s an eggy delight set off by crema catalana ice cream. Paired with ‘Xmas pudding in a glass’ PX Ximenez Spinola, it’s delicious. H has the Tarta de Santiago, the iconic eponymous pudding of almonds that dates back to the Middle Ages. We have more sherry and feel even more Spanish. Time to go back to the office, it seems to be getting dark.

Competition in Soho is fierce for Spanish restaurants, Londoners increasingly recognise that Spanish food is simply the best for casual eating, and so more and more restaurants are appearing. Maresco has a cutting edge by sticking to 90% seafood and sourcing the very best from Scotland. Treating it all super-simply but absolutely perfectly, the team make it a relaxed experience

I left humming the 80’s song  ‘I could be happy’, a shout out to all the other Altered Images fans out there because they, like me, will know Stephen Lironi was once the band’s guitarist and drummer. I liked his songs then, and I like his seafood even more .