Sunday, 24 March 2013

5 Questions - La Cantina, Teguise, Lanzarote

Myself and my gorgeous wife have been visiting Lanzarote for many years now, enjoying the wonderful food that is produced on the island or the other neighbouring Canary Islands. When we were on holiday last year we made a point of catching up with some of the expats who were living on the island, including Tracy Brown who runs Brown Deli in Costa Teguise, Sarah English who runs English Cakes Lanzarote, and Mike & Julie Cliffe-Jones who run the Lanzarote Information website. It was great to meet people who live and breathe the island, especially when we were able to ask for recommendations on places to eat.
Although they each had different suggestions of where we could eat, there was a running theme in their recommendations in that they all spoke highly of La Cantina, run by expat couple Benn Atkinson and Zoe Buchanan, in the old capital Teguise. Having visited Teguise for the regular Sunday market, we were familiar with La Cantina as we had to walk past the familiar building on the walk from the car park, however we had never ventured in to the typical Spanish bar/restaurant. Based on the recommendations that we had been given, we made a point of driving through to Teguise before we returned from our holiday.
Before we made our way to the airport for our early evening flight back to the UK, we drove through to Teguise to see what all the fuss was about. La Cantina, housed in a building that dates back back to the 17th century, originally served as a local shop selling hardware and household goods to the villagers. Over the years the building hasn't changed much with simple wooden tables & chairs laid out inside the whitewashed walls.
Both Benn and Zoe were on duty when we arrived and after a quick chat at the bar, we were seated at a table in the cool stone restaurant and Zoe talked us through the extensive wine list (they claim to have the largest selection of Lanzarote wines on the island), and recommended that we try the Tabla Canaria in order to get a real taste of Lanzarote before we left for the airport.

Tabla Canaria

Here's their story;

How did you get started?
Out of frustration with lack of local eating options and also a need to change direction, a family friend had a restaurant in an amazing historic building and was retiring, our passion has always been entertaining house guests, honest cooking and sharing a bottle of wine so it felt right to put our energies into something we loved.

What’s the best piece of business advice you could give?
Try it… Have a tiny budget and give it your maximum energy, all your failings are lessons too so take the plunge, just make sure the financial risk is an amount you are willing to lose.

Where would you like to see your business in 5 years time?
We would like to see Cantina as a brand through which we can operate specialist outlets, we are currently opening the Cantina Deli but it would be great to offer a healthy salad & juice bar, a coffee shop, chocolate factory or maybe a fish restaurant overlooking the ocean.

If you could only have one of your own products, what would it be & why?
Hard to choose… The Tabla Canaria is our most popular item and its rewarding introducing local cuisine like gofio or potatoes with herb mojo but there is nothing like watching someone mouthgasm over our chocolate brownies with salt caramel so i guess that would be the one…

You can invite one person (living or dead) to your last meal – Who would it be and why? …and what’s on the menu?
I know people love to knock a winner but we find Jamie Oliver inspirational, his whole approach to food, sourcing and knowledge sharing has drastically changed the way Britons see food. Menu would be simple, social and honest either Asturian beef chops on a bbq or a fresh local fish baked in a salt crust. Followed by Zoe's brownies of course.

Parfait de limon

Having never experienced Zoe's mouthgasmic chocolate brownie and therefore having no picture I have instead posted a picture of the wonderful homemade Parfait de limon that Zoe was serving to the table next to us when we were in. If it weren't for the fact that we were stuffed after our wonderful Tabla Canaria, we would have order one for ourselves too.
Benn and Zoe both have a huge passion for food, especially in the promotion of locally produced meat, cheese and wine. This coupled with the planned launch of Cantina Deli, regular events like the recent wine tasting evening, and live music by local up and coming musicians, means that I also need to join Tracy, Sarah, Mike & Julie in their recommendation of La Cantina.
Keep up to date with La Cantina on Facebook.


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