Wednesday 19 October 2016

Aponiente, El Puerto de Santa Maria, Spain.

We've now visited Aponiente every September for the last four years. We've followed them from the small, smart cosy restaurant where it once was (now their own tapas bar) to the imposing sand coloured 18th-century flour mill where it now stands on the edge of the shores of the Atlantic.
Our tastes have also matured in tandem with the exquisite cuisine you will find here, all sourced from the ocean. I've always found it's a wise time to visit a two star restaurant when it's pushing for a third star as is so clearly the case here. I document this fourth meal here as the finest yet, both in terms of food, (always sublime, this time even better) but on this occasion extremely slick and stellar service from the team, maître d' Cristóbal Torres and sommeliers Lucia Fuentes (photo below) and Juan Ruiz Henestros.

On this occasion we opt for the slightly shorter Mar en Calma Menu with a few additions.
Fish loin Ibérian style ~ Blue fish sobrasada ~ Chips, little shrimps and lemon.
Roasted sardines.
Almond taco with dry salted fish.
Squid cake Cuttlefish cake. Plankton sponge cake. A beautiful little plate of 'cakes'.
Scrambled eggs, green garlics and shrimps.
Sea and mountains.
Three ways to eat mackerel ~ Sea urchin royal. I loved this dish, the flavours always immense.
Café de Paris Oyster. Utterly divine.
Stew dogfish ~ Discard of fish in clay with fried bread sauce. At the beginning of the meal, Ángel León shows us a display of fish that are normally discarded by fishermen. Naturally they make it into a beautiful plate of food.
Moray popieta in grenobloise sauce.
Pressed sepia. 'Choco a la presa' an elaborate dish prepared at the table with some flourish. I believe the press is from the now closed Can Fabes, the first Catalan restaurant to be awarded three Michelin stars.
Fish eye.
Cucumber, watermelon and herbs.
Cherry and chocolate. A beautiful 50 year old Sherry they let us sample.
They also kindly made me a little birthday cake!
Aponiente has very much evolved into a three star restaurant, this is especially evident in this meal. There's little more I can say about this unique restaurant, our favourite anywhere. There is nowhere else quite like it. I will be very surprised if Aponiente doesn't reach the top ranks of restaurants in Spain and the world to achieve the highest accolade.
Previous reviews here.
My interview with head chef Ángel León.
Dinner cost us £281 for two with wine.

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