Saturday 5 April 2008

Spanish Food 4

The next stop was at Bar Europa - a spot that my friends had very fond memories of. It's a lovely space, tiled in blue and white which makes it very cool and relaxing. Unfortunately there seems to have been a less-than-successful change of management and the attitude from the spotty youth had my friend wild with rage. The things she'd been most keen to order were all unavailable, so we went with some different stuff.

The salad of soaked bacalao with romesco sauce wasn't very successful. The garnish of olive slices added nothing but an air of bad takeaway pizza, the fish was still very salty, the layer of lettuce didn't really work and the romesco needed a bit more of a vinegar punch. On the other hand, the scrambled eggs with wild garlic shoots were curdy, creamy and utterly delicious. I am delighted that my friend has actually pointed out a patch of wild garlic near my house, so I could go and forage.

After that, we needed to go somewhere where the food would be better and the service less rude. We fetched up at a bar just near the pink church (the Iglesia del Salvador) that my friends always go back to for the espinacas con garbanzos. Not only were they the best of the versions I tried (I think they had a bit of turmeric in as well as the other flavourings), the bartenders were very good-looking and charming. And when we asked for glasses of manzanilla, they offered a choice of 3 and looked terribly serious while we decided.

We finished the evening at another bar with a portion of torrijas. I'm told that we were lucky to get it, because a lot of places only serve it during Holy Week. The version we had was made with wine and eggs and then soaked in a spiced syrup and served at room temperature. The overall effect was like a boozy gulab jamun. Yum. It seems odd to me that something sweet, alcoholic and eggy would be a dominant feature of Holy Week - I guess Lent takes a back seat when something truly delicious is on offer.

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