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Thursday, 6 November 2014

Francisco La Fontanilla, Conil de la Frontera, Spain.

You know those rare occasions when life just works out perfectly, if just for a fleeting moment. It was like that as we got out of the taxi on the last day of our holiday in Conil. The sun was just setting as the waiter showed us to our pre-booked table right at the edge of the beach, looking out on that view. Sunsets might be a commonplace cliché to some but when you actually sit and watch the colours turning from orange to scarlet to deep purple over several minutes, it would be a complete cynic who wouldn't be amazed at the utter beauty of it all.
The food didn't disappoint either. Francisco La Fontanilla is one of those restaurants that the Spanish specialize in, it's been there for years and they really know what they're doing with fish.
A complimentary dish of little mussels came as we chatted to a friendly German couple sat on the next table. They'd recognised us from a few days earlier at Aponiente.
He reckoned this is one of the best places for seafood on this Costa de la Luz coastline amongst some tough competition. It would be hard to disagree. We even had a friendly game of restaurant top-trumps as we talked about great meals we'd had. We see your El Bulli 2006 and raise you an El Bulli 2004!
Mrs Bacon had set her heart on some local Oysters (€1.65 each) and they were wonderfully fresh as you'd expect.
We also had some Gambas al Ajillo (€12) and Tuna Tartare, (€14), all simple and fine quality.
Traditionally on the last meal of our holiday we like to go for a paella. But it can be a gamble, even in Spain. It's a hard dish to get right, we've had our share of rotten ones over the years.
This time we went for a different rice dish; Arroz con Carabineros (Risotto with scarlet shrimps, €19.50 per person). God this was good, a big black pot of golden liquid velvet stock, so rich in the flavours of the sea but not over salted.
We'd had a similar dish in the north of Menorca some years ago. They helpfully supplied bibs then. I need it in all honesty, clumsily spooning the comforting stock and rice into my gob at once. It's so satisfying when food is so simple and yet just right like this, expertly cooked and with such wonderful product too.
It's easy to look back on life events and say I was happy then, at that exact moment as we were for that hour or two sat on a beach eating fine food in front of the sun going down. The trick is to properly appreciate it there and then, as you're living it, and we did just that.
The final bill came to €87.55 including a €14 bottle of Albariño.

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