It seems like a lifetime ago that myself and Nicola enjoyed two weeks on holiday in Lanzarote. We are often asked why we return to the same place each year, rather than trying new holiday destinations? There are lots of answers to that question but the two main reasons that we return each year are quite simply;
- We both love the fantastic food and drink that is readily available on the island
- We know so many people who live on the island that we consider to be good friends
With that in mind, we were able to kill two birds with one stone when we went for dinner one evening at Barstro, an amazing restaurant in the sleepy village of Nazaret, run by our friend Paul Campbell.Paul is a brilliant chef who has worked under some of the world's best chefs before he relocated to Lanzarote where he built up a great reputation prior to setting up his own restaurant with another of our friends, Viktor Domahidy.
Viktor has actually been working in Canada for the last six months helping to set up a Spanish restaurant for a friend however he must have heard that Gerry's Kitchen was stopping by as he had flown back over to say hello. (Although this might just be a little bit of a coincidence)
I had arranged our booking through our friend Heidi who looks after all of the PR and Social Media for the restaurant and she had promised to pop in to say hi. We had arrived earlier than our planned booking so took our time to look over the wine menu that featured plenty of choice from the surrounding Lanzarote bodegas. In the end, we ordered a fantastic bottle of Malvasia Volcánica Seco from Bodega Bermejo, which happened to be one of the bodegas that we visited earlier in our stay when we took part on the Bodega Hopping trip organised by Active Club Lanzarote. It wasn't long before Heidi turned up along with her gorgeous daughter Darcy and spent ten minutes catching up with our holiday adventures, but as it was a school night they had to make a quick exit and get back home.
The menu at Barstro is split into small and large plates and when we have eaten at Barstro the past, we have ordered a selection of small plates to share. Both of our previous visits have been over the lunch service so sharing seemed more natural but as we were in for dinner, we decided to go order starter and mains.
To start, Nicola ordered the salmon & spinach Scotch Egg which was a clever twist on the classic. A soft boiled quail's egg was wrapped inside a well seasoned mix of salmon and spinach then deep fried in crispy breadcrumbs. This was a well executed dish, the runny egg yolk, irony spinach and rich oily salmon were a great balance, enhanced further by a rich teriyaki sauce.
For my own starter, I ordered roasted artichoke hearts stuffed with Feta. This was a hearty starter with three artichoke hearts stacked with huge chunks of feta and pickled cornichons. The combination of saltiness from the Feta, the smoky flavours from the roasted artichoke and the acidity from the pickles was great.
We were also served up a side of marinated Feta with pickled cornichons and a side of huge marinated green olives with garlic and lemon so by the time we had worked our way through these four starter dishes, we were both feeling pretty full.
For main, Nicola opted for confit duck leg which was served on a bed of fluffy mashed potato. Henry VIII was a huge fan of confit duck and he would have been impressed with the tender, well cooked duck that just fell from the bone. The portion size was generous and when coupled with the side of seasonal vegetables that were served alongside, the main represented pretty good value for money.
For my own main, I opted for the calves liver with lemon, ginger, tomato & coriander. I love liver but don't get it that often so I was interested to see how Paul would apply his Barstro twist to this old time classic. There was no shortage of liver on the plate with five perfectly cooked slices stacked on top of a mound of mashed potato along with a sauce packed with lemon and ginger on the side. The side sauce was nice but it didn't work for me, I thought it was too sharp for the strong flavours of the liver. Maybe it's the traditionalist in me but I would have much preferred my liver to have been served up along with some Serrano ham and fried onion.
By this point in the evening, we were both stuffed so decided to skip dessert and get the bill but Paul sent out a selection of frozen yogurt, sorbet and ice cream to freshen our palate before we made our way into the night. I'm glad that he did as the red berry sorbet was to die for, packed with tons of sweet fruit flavours and balanced with a super sharp lemon sorbet.
We were definitely stuffed now so we settled up the bill and said our goodbyes. Dinner for the two of us including wine cost around €65 which represented fantastic value for money considering the quality of cooking on show.
Barstro might be a little off the beaten track, especially for those holidaymakers staying in the resorts but it's definitely worth making the effort to get along if you can. This was our fourth visit to Barstro and once again we left feeling totally satisfied and know that it's only a matter of time before we get back again for good food and a catch up with old friends.