Friday, 10 October 2008
RESTAURANT REVIEW: CAFÉ ANDALUZ
Share the experience, but not the pudding
IN A DARK, WOODEN, BEAUTIFULLY-CARVED BOOTH IS WHERE YOU CAN EXPECT TO MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME IN THIS AESTHETICALLY EXQUISITE RESTAURANT. DETAILS ARE THE ORDER OF THE DAY WITH GORGEOUS HAND-PAINTED PLATES DE ESPANA LINING THE WALLS AND DRAMATICALLY DIVERSE CHANDELIERS DECORATING THE AIR ABOVE EACH TABLE. PILLOWS AND CUSHIONS PROVIDE WEE NESTS AND THE DEFINING ASPECT OF CAFÉ ANDULUZ'S PERSONALITY LENDS ITSELF TO ITS TILED WALLS, AN IMPRESSIVE EXTRAVAGANCE SAID TO HAVE COME FROM THE SPANISH REGION, ANDALUZ, ITSELF. IT IS THE MOST STUNNING DINING ROOM I HAVE EVER LAID EYES ON.
A bowl full of olives with bread and very olive-y oil arrive while I admire the Sunday evening ambience buzzing inside, a deserted and mute George Street outside. On our table rests gargantuan wine glasses that beg to be filled with one of the many wines available on the exclusively Spanish and highly informative list. While I pour over the abundance of choice, a perfect glass of Sangria keeps me happy with flashbacks of warm nights spent at Barcelonian street cafés.
The tapas menu is exciting as it promises the sampling of six to eight things for two people, a tradition for which Spain is adored. The patatas bravas (£3.45) is a nostalgic hit to anyone who has been to the country. The indigenous staple of potatoes are fried with a rich tomato sauce; a cool dallop of soured cream takes the heat off nicely. The berejenas rellenas de pimiento (£4.25), an aubergine freshly filled with cous cous and peppers in herb tomato with melted Manchego cheese, is light but superb.
The pollo rebozado con miel (£4.95) is a highlight - chicken lightly battered and coated with Spanish honey and grain mustard. A Spanish meat feast ensues with the tabla Imberico (£7.95), a plentiful platter of Serrano ham, aged Iberico chorizo and Lomo & Manchego cheese. Our seafood choices include the calamari, or calamares (£4.25), and gambas rebozadas (£5.25), black tiger prawns in a coriander batter, both dishes deliciously alive with squeezes of lemon.
The finish is the chocolino (£4.95), a pot of dense, velvet chocolate mouse with traces of Tia Maria. Word of advice? Defy the tradition, get your own. This baby wasn't born to be shared!
77b George Street
0131 220 9980
Also in the November 2008 issue of Bite Magazine