After many trips to the Basque Country over the last couple of years we decided it was time to reconnect to ‘The Motherland’ and revisit Andalusia, the place that stole my heart many years ago.
The trip was truly inspirational and over the next few weeks some of that inspiration will find its way onto the menu at Levanter. We have sourced some fabulous new ingredients and tasted some incredible food.
First of all we literally ‘sniffed out’ this little cafe on the beach just off the Av De Duque De Najera.
Next up we have ‘El Faro’ a truly fantastic Tapas Bar in their centre of the old town Cadiz
Duo De Sardinas
Gambas En Bechamel
Albondigas De Ternera (Bulls Tail Meatballs)
El Faro was recommended to us by several people and it was utterly fantastic but equally it was great stumble across Taberna El Tio De La Tiza, one of those places with a fantastic display of fresh fish out on the street.
Boquerones, John Dory & Shark Fillet.
Sanlucar De Barrameda was next on the list. We had a great lunch at Casa Balbino, another recommendation and once again it didn’t disappoint with its famous ‘Tortilla De Camarones’
Tortilla De Camarones
Bacalao Con Salmorejo
Gambas, Canillas (Sea Snails) & Centollo Relleno (Spider Crab)
Berenjenas (Aubergines stuffed with Prawns)
As well as trying to eat as much food as humanly possible, the other purpose of our trip was to visit Beni, he and his father have two boats that sail off the coast of Cadiz & Sanlucar to catch Carabineros, Gambas de Sanlucar, Puntillas (baby squid) and much, much more. We had a great afternoon chatting with Beni, having a look round the docks and seeing where the catch comes in, is sorted in the yard, sent through the conveyor to be weighed and displayed for various wholesalers, restauranters and retailers as they bid for the valuable cargo while the price fluctuates as more catches are landed
Beni, the fisherman who we buy our Carabineros, Gambas De Sanlucar & Puntillas (baby squid) from.
Clams landed, auctioned, bagged and ready to be delivered
The following day we found ourselves in Jerez, the birthplace of sherry and a Mecca for all Flamenco enthusiasts. Flamenco is just in the air in Jerez, its part of the fabric of the place and even though most people there don’t pursue it as an art form they do all understand it and have clearly grown up with it as part of the culture. (I should declare my interest at this point, i have studied Flamenco most of my adult life so its kind of on my radar!)
Las Cuadras (the stables). A steady flow of perfect tapas dishes came out the kitchen and each one was sublime.
Tostada Dos Mares (Boquerones with avocado alioli & pisto)
We couldn’t stay for the following weekend but Las Cuadras has live flamenco every Friday and Saturday night and the girl who served us showed us the ‘Flamenco Garden’. Much of the Flamenco you’ll find in Spain will be of the ‘tourist’ variety but i got the feeling that here you might get the real thing. I’ll have to return to find out for sure….
As well as ‘sniffing out’ new places to eat sometimes you can ‘hear’ where is good to go. The sound of Spanish chatter led us this Charcoal Grill Restaurant ‘Meson Del Asador’.
Rabo De Toro (bulls tail)
Callos A La Madrilena (tripe, Madrid style)
Brocheta De Pollo
We ended our trip in one of our favourite places ‘Manteca’, a bullfighting bar where they specialise in cured meats and tinned fish dishes. Simple but amazing.