Pesky

It seems to me that the vast percentage of my meals are meat based, fair enough most of the time, as I do prefer to eat seafood while I am near the coast. I often worry about the freshness of fish when ordering it in a place where the majority of dishes are meat and the fish dish seems like an afterthought.

During one of my escapades to explore neighbourhoods, and to find great burgers I happened to pass by a specialist Mexican fish restaurant, and it was rammed full before 12:00. I happened to pass the same restaurant again just before 3, it was still as full, with guests waiting to enter, I resolved to find time to dine here.

It’s a Sunday morning and I return smug, I walk through the sleepy streets of the borough as people go about their Sunday morning duties, walking their dogs, hoovering and the like. The restaurants that have bothered opening have a few diner between them, mine is half full 5 minutes before officially opening and there is a melee outside, the small army of waiting staff scurrying around tells me they expect to be very busy, again.

DSC04095A basket of bread and tostadas hits the table soon after our order is taken, followed by another few gentle thuds as a few small bowls join it, a vegetables escabeche, a salsa verde (one made from green tomatoes and mild chillies) and sliced onions macerating in lime juice, salt with finely diced habaneros (it’s frightfully hot).

DSC04097The pulpos ala gallega arrives first, a simple herty dish of octopus cooked in the Galician style, it’s not Mexican, but it is an excellent way to prepare octopus. Still warm from its poaching bath and carefully hacked, slathered with good quality olive and dredged served with smoked paprika, this version has a few cubes of fried potato as well, a welcome addition to this simple and delicious dish.

DSC04096The caldo de cameron arrives a few moments after the octopus, it’s not much to look at just a simple looking mug of soup. Perhaps the larger portion would be served in a bowl, but this is enough of the spicy prawn broth for me to appreciate its full prawn flavour and reassuring chilli zing. There are a few peeled fresh prawns lurking in the bottom with a little diced vegetable and a few grains of rice.

DSC04099The octopus and the soup really just got me excited about eating fish and the pescada ala talla arrived at the table raw and butterflied for our inspection, it was a large snapper, far too big for my small remaining appetite, luckily just ordering half the fish was an option. What we had ordered was a stone roast fish, half coated with a red chilli adobe rub and half with a fresh parsley rub, this is then served with frijoles and warm corn tortillas. Sadly the skin had scales so I missed out on eating the lightly charred skin, but the flesh was perfect, easily flaking, moist and superbly fresh. I liked the adobe rub the most as it delivered a richness missing with the fresh tasting parsley, I choked down the first tortilla made into a little taco with some of the frijoles, lime steeped onion and flakes of fish, it was good for what it was but it just made me long for anything that wasn’t a tortilla.

DSC04100The seafood was good, really good but this wasn’t the place to linger long on your table, there is a cluster of people outside and I’m sure the bill will go down as soon as you’ve either ordered or refused to order coffee. Ideally I’d have liked to have had 15 minutes or so to digest and enjoy the meal before I considered dessert, so I asked to see the menu, a platter of ready to go plated dessert arrived in moments along with a gentleman who could explain them all in word perfect English. The looked good, my partner couldn’t go past the meringue, strawberry and cream cake, an attractive cake made with some of her favourite dessert items, that easily lived up to any expectation she made of it.

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