FOOD is a subject close to my heart and I started cooking at home from the age of nine. Age 10 my dream was to be a chef in France and as a teenager I had a pot wash job in a restaurant in Guildford. Age 21 the bags were packed and I started a job as a trainee restaurant manager at a hotel in Stoke.
I started moving up the greasy pole and worked for some years at one of the best hotels in Birmingham and was immersed in the sexy world of fine dining. Then to London, working in event management including a year running the banqueting at West Ham FC. What a joy, really hard work and I saw over 30 football matches for free that season including my beloved Liverpool FC.
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Running a golf club in Surrey kept me busy before making the move to sunny Spain and in that time I got various food and wine qualifications. I still hold my licensees card so if the going gets tough selling houses I have an escape route back to the UK.
Now living and working in Spain I always feel odd when its time to think of a holiday. I am sure people in the UK think we are all on permanent holidays as we spend our days in the sun. Anyone who also works here will agree that to make a life here the hours worked are very long indeed. The dream some people have of buying a bar and sitting at the end of it chatting to customers whilst their staff beaver away is as far away from the truth as it can be.
Food being a driving force in my life a recent holiday was organised so some great eateries could be visited around Andalucía. First stop was near Antequera to Hotel La Paloma owned by an Italian family.
They have created a superb and great value menu in the busy restaurant and brought an Italian twist to traditional local ingredients. A great wine list too with shock horror wines from outside Spain and a delicious Chianti Classico reminded me of fava beans and THAT movie. The staff could not be more helpful and the service was excellent and unobtrusive.
Next stop was Seville, a huge city and armed with 3 pages of recommended food stops it was soon obvious that everyone else was using the same list as everywhere was packed. Instead a great restaurant was found called Meson Serranito in Calle Alfonso XII. A huge place filled with workers and such fast service the food was ready it seemed almost before it was asked for.
Pork cheek stew, Cola de Toro (stewed oxtail) fantastic white Huelva prawns and a really cheap wine list starting at 7€ a bottle and all served with a smile. One of the waiters in his 60s was showing the whippersnapper 35 year old waiter the fine art of Serrano ham carving. A really cheap buzzing place and well worth a try if ever in Seville.
Next the old town of Cordoba to eat at the best place I have ever visited in Spain. Found by chance on another visit it’s called Garum 2.1 in Calle San Fernando.
It’s a bistronomic tapas bar and everything that comes from the kitchen is divine. Being a fussy type I can honestly say it’s the only place that makes me try things I would usually avoid.
The cochifrito (roast suckling pig) is the most sublime thing ever to pass my lips and so delicious I popped back in for a tapas as I simply had to give it another try before bedtime. Excellent service and beautiful presentation! At 3.5 hours drive from Almeria it’s possible just to go just for lunch.
Awesome stuff indeed and a real gem. Bar El Suave in Sorbas was a pit stop on the way home where they do great value meals for only 5/6€ including beef rib so worth a visit too.