It's a delight this month to finally write about my favourite restaurant in the city. I first visited this freshly decorated restaurant in EL Carmen last Spring, a decision based entirely on the Che inspired sign outside.
The restaurant is interesting without being overwhelming, with chunky furniture, clean walls, and a rotation of artists pieces adorning the walls; we've seen some twisted Mickey Mouses, and the last delight was Djinn by Ana Miralles (until November).
As we were with British family members we arrived early to a quiet restaurant, giving us undivided attention, although on subsequent visits when there have been other patrons, we have always been pleased with the level of friendly service. As the worlds most difficult customer, they made sure that whatever I ordered would be within the reins of the allergies and the chefs kept to this promise, for which I am grateful.
We've now tried both the evening menu (starter, main, desert, coffee, wine and a cheeky digestif came to €130 for 3 people) and the lunchtime menu (starter, main, desert/coffee for €10 each or €13 at weekends). Unlike other places, the lunchtime menu was the same excellent standard as the dinner menu, with well-thought out menus and interesting flavour combinations that not only suited each other, but really worked on exciting and stimulating the tastebuds as well. The food arrived in good time – not so quick as to hear the pings of any microwave, but not so slow that we were left eating our own arms. The desert took the longest, as we would have hoped, given that it was freshly made Tatín de papaya with maracuyá sorbet (€7) - heaven – and well worth the wait.
The menu changes to keep it fresh, with special menus for special calendar events to keep you coming back to try out the new sensations. And if the evening menu of Presa de ibérico – Shoulder of Pork with teriyaki flavoured licorice and salted arnadí (16.00 €) ever returns, I will camp outside the doors on opening night; I have never, with any exaggeration, ever, tasted a meal as delicious as this one. I had it twice just to check. And we've just heard that until 15 November, Refugio will donate €1 to Acción contra el Hambre for every person who visits Sunday-Thursday evenings and orders the menú solidario. The amount raised will go to prevention, diagnosis and treatment of childhood acute malnutrition in the poorest countries in the world.
If you ask for a Bono menú revolutionnary card, and get it stamped on every visit, they also offer the 10th menu for free (or a discount on your dinner), for every ten you have. The advert says Cooking revolution. And it really is.