Thursday 15 August 2013

Casamar, Llafranc Spain.

I'd already promised Mrs B; no new restaurant bookings! (She's sensibly afraid that I'll spend all our 'pension' on fine wine and fine food!) But here's the thing; on our trip around Catalonia, we were returning to Llafranc for just one night for old times sake. It's a classy seaside town, perfect in size with a pretty town beach and not a high rise or British pub in sight. I found out that there was a fairly recent One Michelin Star restaurant there. I couldn't resist it. I sneaked it into our itinerary. It was only €61 for a tasting menu! I protested, it's a bargain! We made our way up the several flights of stairs from the town, it has marvellous views over to the beach and beyond.
Warmly greeted by Maria the hostess (and chef Quim Casellas's sister I believe,) we settled in our seats with panoramic views. Some small apéritifs arrived, they were gorgeous and beautifully presented.
Watermelon infused with sangria, we'd had something similar at Tickets.
Next, Cold cream of Gerla potato and leek soup with fresh cheese ice cream and Ossetra caviar. (Refreshing with a creamy touch of Empordà cheese and the salty tang of caviar.) This was beautifully creamy, we really liked the warm/cold combination.
The bread choice was excellent too.
Which type? I can't decide, they all look good. They were.
Foie gras semifreddo with cherries and savoury bread. (Fruit and foie gras, the perfect combination.) We loved this, like a meaty trifle. The combination of dark fruit and foie gras; a match made in heaven.

Carneroli rice with prawn from Palamós and cured Iberian ham. (Cooked like a risotto with prawns.) Excellent.

Sole with clams and sweet bergamot. (The best product served in the simplest way.) Very good.

Suckling pig with juniper berries,
stewed onions and summer chanterelle mushrooms. (Off the bone and pressed, mixed with contrasting Mediterranean aromas.) Easily the best piece of meat we'd had since El Celler de can Roca and much better than the pork we'd had the previous day at Sant Pau. The meat so tender, but the crackling almost burnt on the surface; gorgeous!
Goblet of yoghurt and lemon with almond crumble (The acidity of yoghurt with the citric touch of lemon and the contrast of almond.)
Chocolate balls (The essence of the chocolate.) Both good desserts.
We really enjoyed Casamar, chef Quim Casellas's food is extremely accomplished as you'd expect from a One Michelin star restaurant. Service was very friendly, although the sommelier was incredibly serious, cracking a smile occasionally may help to put customers at ease! The only minor blip in service was when Mrs B went to the toilet and they brought my dish over then took it away again when she returned! (I actually think they may have needed an extra waiter as they seemed stretched to me on this particular day.)
Casamar and the following day at Les Magnolies confirmed to me that more often than not, I'd prefer to go to a One Michelin star over a much more expensive but less enjoyable three Michelin star restaurant (such as Sant Pau for instance,) as we both felt that Casamar was fantastic value for money for food just as good.
Price: €61. Good value for money for food at this level. A reasonable bottle of white for €20 as well.
Service: Friendly, stretched at times.
Atmosphere: We sat outside, (lunchtime only) with beautiful views. It looked elegant inside.
Food: Very good.
Star dish: 

Mr B: Suckling pig with juniper berries.
Mrs B: Foie gras semifreddo with cherries.
Score: 8.5/10.

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