We are on our way to visit a restaurant that we had seen advertised. I am intrigued by the photograph of the proprietor who sports the most magnificent of moustaches. Will the food live up to the stupendous moustache?
- We turn off the autopista TF5 at J29 and make our way downhill towards the coast, to the La Quinta urbanisation. We pull up outside Taller Don Diego Álvarez, situated in a small parade cheek by jowl with the hotel there. It is nothing particular to look at from the outside, but we are all entranced as soon as we brave its portals. This looks to be a very attractive place to either eat in their Tasca or just to prop up the bar with a tapa and cold glass of wine. The waiter descends on us and we are seated at a nice table, on which are some stunning patterned charger plates, setting the tone for what, we trust, is to come. Although they are not, they look like V&B, and, as ex-hoteliers, we cannot resist turning them over to look for the manufacturer mark underneath, much to the consternation of the watching staff who instantly whisk them away!
There are three of us this evening, as we are accompanied by our old friend Peter, although, with his new knee, we perhaps should now call him our young friend. It is his first excursion since rising, akin to Lazarus, from his slab in the Bellevue.
The menu is extensive, as we saw from the list outside, but, having been clocked as English, rather grubby and tired print-outs are brought to us, sporting the usual mis-translations. Peter orders one of the specials of the day; fresh clams in a spicy chilli broth which are presented in a large earthenware bowl, the scent from which wafts across the table towards me, redolent of the sea. The clams are pronounced delicious, cooked just enough to open them before they turn all rubbery. My dish of chanterelle mushrooms and crispy bacon, also from the specials blackboard, come in a cream and brandy sauce, and I needed a lot of the excellent crusty bread to mop up all the sauce.
Our waiter came with his apologies that the very local Arautava wine that we had chosen was not available, so we had to quickly order something else, which was a Viñatigo from just further along the coast, and which proved to be just as excellent.
My wife and Peter had chosen the lamb cutlets but an apologetic waiter soon returned to the table to announce that they had none. Instead, he proposed a different cut of lamb. Sally accepted the offer (without being told that it was going to come in at some €5 more expensive) and Peter opted to share with me their other speciality, Arroz Caldoso, (€25.50 for two persons) which in this interpretation is a soupy rice concoction filled with chunks of seafood and shellfish. It is presented to us in a vast earthenware tureen almost big enough to swim in. The fish is cooked just right, again, just to the point before the aforesaid rubber takes hold. The chef here clearly knows how to cook fish. Whilst the accompanying soup/broth might have been reduced a little to offer a tad deeper concentration of flavour, it was very acceptable.
Sally’s lamb (accompanied very plainly by just chips) was tasty but too fatty even for her palate. We decided that it was expensive for what it was, and, for the price of €19.80 some fresh vegetables would not have gone amiss.
With all the extra bits and bobs, our bill came to €89.50 for the three of us. Not cheap, and not faultless, but all three of us unanimously agreed that we would go back there again.
We had interesting excursions to the loos on the way out. Small, petite, bijou, call them what you may, but they were clean and each, uniquely, sported a bottle of mouthwash with a pile of tiny plastic beakers for an individual palate cleansing rinse. A USP with a difference! Make of that what you will!
Taller Don Diego Álvarez,
Urb. La Quinta,
38390 Santa Ursula,
Tel: 922 300 866.
Open: Daily. Kitchen open from 12.00 to 24.00
Loo Score: 8/10 (extra point for that mouthwash)