I can tell you exactly when we were last at Bar San Juan on Beech road; August 1st 2013
, almost two years ago. Despite it being the closest restaurant to us at a mere two minutes walk. This is because we want to sit outside when the sun is out and pretend that we're on holiday in Spain. (And also sit smugly watching people passing by). But those few tiny seats on the street are like gold dust. I walk past this place at least once a day and it's always
busy, even at lunchtime. We are actually on our way somewhere else and the barrel (our favoured table) is free. A miracle!
They are entertaining family from Spain and are not properly open yet. We are kindly offered one of Mama's specialities, a Torta Frita
(not normally on the menu). Actually a South American delicacy of crisp fried bread topped with two anchovies giving you a perfect amount of salt wrapped in the warm fluffy dough. We loved it. They should have this on the menu all the time, give people something a little different.
I'm told mum comes over now and again bringing a different dish each time. Most things are pretty standard at San Juan, which has always been my only real complaint. (Although to be fair they do use the best local products from Out of the Blue and Frosts). It's a great bar but I'd prefer something slightly more food led like Levanter
They are moving in the right direction though with the addition of Frost's Beef Cheeks
. (Carrilleras (£5.20) Exactly as you'd want them, unctuous and fatty and can be eaten with a spoon.
(black pudding, £4.90) is better than last time, proper moist, it goes down a treat with the Cruzcampo
(£4.50) are decent enough but should be plumper giving you that real gooey explosion when you bite into them.
No complaints about the Calamares
, (£4.50) there's not one iota of rubberiness
in there, pleasingly tender with the gentle taste of the squid. We spot the delivery from Out of the Blue
fishmongers. Nice to see them using the local (and best) suppliers unlike some near neighbours.
It is a pleasant lunch re- visiting San Juan again and an improvement from our last visit. It is what it is, a small local bar serving fairly standard tapas. You can hardly knock them for that as they're giving people what they want and with some success. We'd love to see some more different stuff on the menu such as the beef cheeks and the torta frita. But when the sun's out and you manage to secure a rare sunshine seat, there aren't many other places in Chorlton I'd prefer to be.
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