Monday, 1 October 2012

Review - Bodega @ La Cascada, Puerto Del Carmen, Lanzarote

For the third year running, myself and Nicola are back in Lanzarote for two weeks of relaxing by the pool at the villa that we first used on our honeymoon. The villa comes equipped with a big barbecue which means that I am able to serve up tasty dinners most nights. Of course, there are a few night that I take a break from the hot coals and we get out to sample some of the local restaurants. So after a few drinks in the villa whilst we changed from poolside attire into something a little more appropriate, we took the short walk to the old harbour area of Puerto Del Carmen. There are a number of well established restaurants in the 'Old Town' of PDC, offering tapas, fresh seafood and a wide selection of grilled meats. Tonight we decided to eat at Bodega @ La Cascada. The restaurant is split into two distinct sections, La Cascada is a more traditional laid out restaurant setting where the focus is on the meats cooked on the grill, whilst Bodega has a more old fashioned feel to it with old stone walls, lots of dark wood, and 'Jamon Serrano' hanging from the rafters. It was a busy Friday night when we walked through the narrow doorway, this gave us time to sit at the bar with a glass of vino blanco and catch up with some of the familiar faces from our previous visits. Despite the fact that we had not been there for over a year, we were immediately recognised and welcomed back like old friends.

Bodega has a huge wine list comprising of red and white wines from some of the top wine producers in Spain, such as Torres and Faustino, as well as other world wines. They also carry a strong list of wines produced on the island, in fact in recent years, Lanzarote wine has received recognition and awards in the wine world. There are a number of bodegas or vineyards on the island, each offering tours and wine tasting to those who make the trips to La Geria. Tonight we enjoyed a bottle of Manto, a crisp, clean white wine made from the Malvasia grape. (whilst Malvasia may not be as well known as the Chardonnay or Sauvignon grapes, it has been around for centuries, in fact William Shakespeare mentioned Malvasia wine in one of his early plays)

Bodega have a full a la carte menu with grilled meats being a speciality, as well as a huge range of tapas. Nicola & I both love ordering tapas and getting to choose lots of different things to eat. Tonight was no different as we ordered seven dishes in total. The tapas were brought to the table in no particular order, over the next two hours we were treated to the dishes below.
Pulpo La Galicia - fresh octopus cooked on the grill with smoked paprika, served with sliced Papas Arragudas. Octopus has become a one of our favourite dishes in recent years. Tonight the octopus was cooked perfectly, the combination of smoky octopus with the salty Canarian potatoes was delightful.
Croquettas de Bacalao - salt cod croquettes served with a sweet tomato relish. Salt cod is a common place ingredient in Spanish cooking, the croquettas were a well balanced blend of salty cod, fresh parsley and nutmeg, coated in breadcrumbs before being deep fried. The croquettas were accompanied with the perfect sweet tomato relish.

Queso de Uga - fresh Lanzarote cheese from Uga served with an assortment of toasted nuts. There are a number of cheeses produced on the island using both goats and sheep milk. The cheese served tonight was a delicious sheep milk cheese which tasted great, somewhere between a good strong cheddar and Manchego.

Revuelta con Gambas y ChampiƱon - scrambled eggs with prawns and mushroom. Creamy, well seasoned eggs packed with plenty of chopped chestnut mushrooms and fresh prawns. The Spanish have a knack for scrambled eggs, this dish was maybe my favourite of the night.
Croquettas de Pollo - chicken croquettes. Every Spanish tapas bar claims to serve up the best Croquettas in the whole of Spain! Admittedly, I think my own croquettas are authentic enough to carry their own 'pasaporte'. That said, the croquettas that Bodega serve up are fantastic! Well seasoned chopped chicken blended with parsley, before being deep fried in breadcrumbs, served with a creamy alioli.
Papas Arragudas - Canarian Potatoes served with Mojo sauce. This traditional dish consists of new potatoes cooked in heavily salted water, so salty that the potatoes float in the pan! (I'll post a recipe for Papas Arragudas in the coming weeks) These salty wrinkled potatoes are a superb replacement for chips or baked potatoes, especially when covered in spicy Mojo Roja!

Gambas al Ajillo - sizzling garlic prawns. Over a dozen fresh prawns cooked in oil with plenty of sliced garlic with a coupe of dried birds-eye chillies for good measure. As a dare, Nicola challenged me to eat the chili as well......challenge accepted and passed! (next time I'll think before accepting the challenge so quickly) This is one of my favourite dishes, I could easily sit with a couple of servings to myself with a chilled glass of white Rioja and some bread to dip.

Carpaccio de Buey - carpaccio of beef. This is Nicola's favourite tapas dish. Wafer thin slices of top grade fillet beef, layered on a platter before being dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and red wine vinegar then chilled in the fridge for a few hours to let the dressing break down the proteins in the beef. Just before serving, generous shavings of Parmegano Reggiano are spread over the tenderised fillet. The combination of flavours on this plate are amazing. The sharpness of the lemon juice and wine vinegar are balanced with the saltiness of the Parmesan, both working incredibly well with the richness of the beef.

The portion sizes are generous and every effort is made to make sure that each tapa is well presented, with every dish tasting exactly how you would expect. We have been eating at Bodega for a number of years now and have yet to be disappointed. To top things off, the multilingual staff are always friendly and attentive, and quick to make recommendations for those unsure of the menu!

Holiday resorts can often be overrun by restaurants that are solely interested in providing cheap and cheerful food aimed at the tourists, and whilst Bodega offer top quality food at great prices seven days a week, the fact that it is frequented by the local Spanish families is perhaps the best reason to take a trip to the old harbour area of Puerto Del Carmen and see what all the fuss is about!

Keep up to date with the team at Bodega on Facebook.


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