Monday, May 9, 2011

Tapas week in Tarragona

Long time no blog. Yes. I know. But here I am. Back with news of life in TGN.
It;s tapas week. Various restaurants sign up to offer a tapa and a drink for €2.50 for the duration of a week or two as a promotion of the city's grastronomy. Choose a district and walk from one to the other during lunchtime or in the evening.
So we went on the trail in the Serallo district.
Here are the results.....(double click any pic to enlarge)

First place.Marisqueris La botigua
Plum Cake de bacallà, broqueta de rap amb arrossejat i esfera de crema catalana
Salt cod muffin, monkfish skewer with rice crust, and (dessert) liquid sphere of crema catalana.

Verdict. Good. Well presented. But pre cooked and served room temperature. Described as 3 courses on a plate. It was nice, specially the crispy rice crust round the monkfish skewer, but not amazing.

Broqueta de popet a l'all cremat
Skewer of baby octopus with tomato, white wine and creamed garlic and croutes.
A great off-the-beaten-track, old fishermans bistro which still clearly retains all it's authenticity and soul. The dish was great. The almost rosmeco-like sauce (but no nuts) was deep and flavoursome. Served with rose cava. Very tasy and rustic. Honest, traditional cooking at its best in no-nonsense surroundings. I'll be back!

Mos de "morteruelo"
A Crostino with a 'rillette-like' pate made of partridge, pork, wild boar and rabbit on spiced bread with tomato and mint garnish. DELICIOUS. Served with red wine. The mint was placed with the halved cherry tomato at one end and we were advised to eat this end last and it was a great final firework in the mouth.

Barquetes de bacallà al perfum d'alls confitats
Crostino of salt cod with confit of young garlic and parsley.
This was simplicity itself, but the fantastic thing was it was cooked to order and seved hot, cloaked in an aioli. It was the best we had had so far. A thick, premium piece of salt-cod, with a faint crust of flour clinging to it and the perfume of sweet young garlic and parsley.Awesome!

"Serrallo'ko Lorea" (Flor del Serrallo)
The flower of the Serallo.
This was a flaky pastry pie containing morcilla (black pudding), membrillo (quince preserve) and calçots (spring onions) with a drizzle of tomato sauce.
It was served warm and flaky with white wine in those funny, flat, Basque tumblers. It was the best thing we had had. Amazing. Sweet, earthy, peppery and slightly haggis-like. Fantastic.

Cruixent de peix. Crispy fish.
A busy , narrow, old fishermans tavern with tanks of lobster, turtles (?!*) and oysters. It had a dizzying array of ingredients, both cooked and raw, on display in that very Spanish, slightly 1970's style of point-and-order restaurateuring. I have a major problem with many of these establishments because they insist on displaying already-fried items such as baby squid and fish, which then get a second bath in the deep fryer once ordered. I try to explain to my Spanish friends (who still think that one cannot eat well in the UK) that we laughed this kind of treatment of seafood out of our kitchens about 20 years ago.
Anyway, we stood and watched 6 hard-core, dyed-in-the wool, post-middle-aged Spanish line chefs crank out dish after dish of pre-prepped seafood in classic cazuelas (terracotta dishes) from an impressive wood oven. We deflected the shoulder barges that were an unavoidable and charming part of the long narrow bar in which we stood, and tried not to spill our drinks on our clothes. The place was noisy and fun. The tapa of fried battered hake fingers with classic romesco was, it has to be said, fresh, crispy and good. Very good. Although I find hake too soft for this kind of thing. There's little to chew once you've penetrated the batter.


  1. Ant Back to his best!!! Pedro

  2. Superb Blog. You've got to get into gastronomy travel wrting ! Chat on the 11th