We've not been to Barbate before though and probably wouldn't have bothered unless food was involved as it's not especially prepossessing.
They brought us out some very good quality bread (it's nearly always excellent bread in Spain I find), and some small chunks of complimentary Mojama paté.
Atún Picante (Spicy tuna, €5.50). Stunning!
Tortillita de Verduras y Gambas. (Little tortilla of veg and prawns, €2.50).
We were completely blown away by the food, it was extremely good quality, the tuna of course is second to none, but the skill of the chef in preparation as well. The prices too, are very reasonable, and much of the food was as good as if not better than some expensive Michelin starred places we've been to.
So why tuna?
Well obviously it's that old thing terroir again, it's simply the very best product that's local, so they use it, and they serve it in at least 30 ways.
Chef Jose Melero known locally as 'The Master of Tuna' says;
“We never buy tuna less than 30 kilos in weight and mostly around 10 years old. We are extremely careful who we buy it from and we freeze it at minus 60 degrees – or ‘calidad sashimi’ – so we can use it all year round.” *
The almadraba, the fishing of bluefin tuna is limited only to May and June when the fish migrate to the Mediterranean. Barbate is perfectly located as the straits are quite narrow. Mojama is the method that they use to salt-cure the tuna.
It's about 10 minutes drive down the coast. We were staying there anyway. It's a fantastic little seaside village with a beautiful long sandy beach that's almost like some of the beaches you see in Australia or the West coast of the States. We watched the sunset and then went to eat!
I really like the decoration inside, it's modern and clean with quirky nautical details.
This is what we ordered this time, all off the tapas menu.
|Just look at those prices! Unbelievable.|
Ortiguillas de Mar Frita (Fried Anemones - €7). I've not seen either of these things much in the UK. Do we even eat them?
It's worth noting that in my opinion, a place like El Campero simply couldn't exist in the UK. This is because British people don't eat much fish. In Spain everyone eats fish, it's not a delicacy for the middle classes, everyone eats lots of it all of the time and in great variety. Something I'll be exploring in more depth next week.
So to conclude, if you're in Andalucia and you like tuna, hell even if you don't like tuna, this place is an absolute must! Probably the best none Michelin star/guide meal of the year for us.
Price: Amazing value. Michelin guide food at low prices.
Atmosphere: Especially like the buzz of the tapas bar in the evening.
Food: Extremely good.
Star dish: Everything!
*Quote Souce: Dining Secrets of Andalucia.
Soundtrack - White Sandy Beach of Hawai'i - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole.