After eating at Shan last week, we were looking for somewhere new to try and I saw a reference to Casa Castilla on Facebook. I checked out the reviews, one lady had reviewed it everywhere, Facebook, Google and Tripadvisor (twice) as she lived in the village and although she assured everyone it was first class food she didn’t actually say what she liked. Two other reviews though caught my eye, both said that because taxis were busy when they visited and the weather in the mountains wasn’t good, the chef took them back to their holiday accommodation. Now that shouts of real customer service, so based on those comments and nothing else the four of us set off.
I had a vague idea that it was opposite the supermarket but Google maps is out of date and didn’t show the exact location. As it turned out we found a slot directly outside the supermarket and spotted the restaurant across the road about 50m from where we had parked.
The venue is small with a homely feel and although I don’t know, I assume it is a family business. Husband serving, wife and daughter in the kitchen.
We were greeted by Paco the owner who was very attentive for the whole evening. We hadn’t booked assuming correctly it wouldn’t be busy being mid-week. As it turned out it was empty when we arrived and when we left there were only two other tables occupied however the atmosphere was warm and welcoming with lots of chat between the host and guests. It felt as if we were enjoying a meal with friends despite not knowing half of the people in the restaurant.
We were shown the boards on the wall as there is no menu but it was explained that while there is a menu of the day, you don’t have to stick to the day. As an example the men at the next table were having what they describe by a bit of English and a bit of mime delicious oxtail (rabo de toro) and that was down as the daily special for Wednesday.
Paco recited the menu with the help of entertaining hand gestures – the bean stew (fabada de la buena) sounded good as a starter but it had lots of vegetables and meat as well as bread to soak up the sauce and we thought that would probably be a bit heavy. In the end we opted for the Manchego drizzled with olive oil which Christine and I shared, the guys had the croquettes, one with ham and one with prawns. The portions were large so the men tried our cheese and we tried their croquettes. These were obviously made from scratch and were yummy. Nothing like the bad potato-filled batons direct from the freezer that many places serve. Biting into one the texture was perfect as your teeth split the layer of fried crumb, that gives way to a velvety interior that was loaded with filling not just potato.
Next came the mains, we all made a point of avoiding the tripe (Callos) and our facial expressions cause great hilarity. In the end we chose the steaks, cooked to perfection and very morish. Lamb chops, for which we received the explanation that they only had a half portion left which was three chops but this for us was sufficient. My only criticism is I would have cooked them longer, as while I don’t like eating the fat, I do like it to be crispy, however all the meat was top quality and delicious. We also ordered the cod (Bacalao casa Castilla) which was cooked to perfection on a bed of potatoes and covered in a rich sauce. We have been friends for so many years that it is nothing for us to take a spoonful of food from each others plates just to sample what is being eaten and every course we had that night was superb.
While Christine popped outside for a cigarette and I nipped to the loo (spotlessly clean) the guys ordered their puddings a panna cotta (OK Italian and not Canarian) but in the words of John Torode it had the perfect wobble and was creamy, rich and not too sweet. And a chocolate brownie which was soft and nutty and melted in the mouth as the warm brownie mixed with the ice cream and caramel sauce.
I chose a barraquito which didn’t look special as there only seemed to be two layers but boy did it pack a punch with a good measure of alcohol. Finally when we asked for the bill we were given four complementary limoncello (again Italian). Although I’m not a drinker I am a bit of a connoisseur of drinks that I like. This was served from a plain bottle tasted homemade and was like drinking lemon curd, so as well as my own I also had Jim’s, well he was driving.
It was 10.00pm when we left and we walked along the road to an outside cafe for a nightcap. Unlike the previous week in the resorts there was no karaoke, but we did chat to the ladies with the three scruffy little dogs and the youngsters who were displaying there twerking techniques.
In all another very enjoyable evening, which makes me realise I am more comfortable in the company of my adopted Canarians than with my own countrymen where I often feel a stranger.