Thursday 18 August 2011

Meson Luis - Granada

Being firm fans of fish and seafood, Michelin's entry regarding Meson Luis sounded perfect: ‘Cuisine: seafood Comments: Very recommendable. Friendly service in this small and pleasant place, where six little tables, not too close together, invite you to lively conversations.

Arriving at Meson Luis about 9pm, quite early for a Spanish evening meal we found just one couple sat at the bar enjoying drinks and tapas. We were greeted warmly by the two members of staff and were duly impressed by the fine looking fruits of the sea which lay before us. Not knowing where to start or what to pick I used my basic Spanish to ask them to bring us whatever was good. A brave move, you might think? But we had complete confidence in our smiling hosts ability to choose (our only concern being, just how much this laissez-fair approach might cost).

The first dish to arrive was a small plate, piled high with Coquinas - tiny clams, cooked simply and served with a squeeze of lemon juice. The two pictures show how my wife and I have vastly different approaches to eating; she selecting individual clams one at a time and carefully arranging the shells like butterflies and me, popping them in repeatedly and quickly casting the shells aside to speed up the whole greedy process.

Next up, one of my favourites, Navajas - the hunting of razor clams always looks so much fun (if you haven't seen this before, check the youtube video of the River Cottage's foraging expert John Wright doing just that), they can put up a bit of a fight as they are pulled from the ground and this may be why they are named after the 'navaja' an Andalusian fighting knife; although eating them has to be so much more pleasurable. Especially when they were prepared and presented as beautifully as these with delicious herby oil and another squeeze of lemon.

Next to arrive was a plate containing two lightly floured and fried Pescadillas and four Salmonetes - the pescadillas are tiny hake (about 20cm), a Galician specialty. They have heads that resemble lizards complete with an impressive set of gnashers, their white flesh was firmer in texture than the little red mullets (salmonetes) but not as flavoursome.

With all the fabulous fish on display I was a little disappointed when a plate of tomatoes arrived. That was until I tasted the, Tomate Casero - this translates as 'homemade tomato' I don't know if that meant that they were homegrown; they were certainly unlike any I have ever grown on my modest raised bed back in Cheshire. So fresh, so fruity brought to life with a drizzle of good oil and seasoned with salt and crunchy chunks of chopped garlic.

Next up, Chipirones – a popular fried favourite, although I do prefer when they are cooked in their ink or with their ink intact inside them. The least enjoyable of the evenings fare – next time I will be sure to ask, “¿Con tinta, por favor?”

Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango? The Andalusian Malagueña fandango is a type of flamenco music and dance. How these big juicy clams came for share the name Malagueña, I don’t know. (I have also seen them on menus as Conchas Finas.) Beautifully prepared in their shells and coated with parsley oil the clams certainly danced to a merry tune on our taste buds. A contender with the navajas for best dish of the day.

Before we knew it, Meson Luis was full of lively locals chatting and laughing like one big happy family. We would like to have stayed on longer and practiced our Spanish whilst attempting to join in on the lively conversation. Full to bursting we had to concede to no more and decided to walk off the meal with an evening’s stroll back to our hotel. Although, on the way back, we did manage to find room for a delicious ice-cream from one of Granada’s many late night Heladerías

1 comment:

  1. I like the idea of naming that delicious razor clams after a famous Andalusian fighting knife. I wonder if there would be a food that will be named after the cold steel knives.


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