Sunday, 6 April 2008

Going Spanish at La Mancha

After braving the spitting rain for the Oxford and Cambridge boat race last weekend (an Oxford victory if you didn't already know), I headed to get some food with Jo and Pali. Located along Putney High Street, La Mancha was just getting crowded when the three of us got there (about 6.30-ish) but oddly enough the waiters were still tucking into their own dinners in a corner table. Hmm? After oh-ing and ah-ing over the menu for quite a while, to the point of irritating our waiter with our 'another five minutes, please', we were ready to order. However, our waiter had by this time decided to give us a dose of our own medicine when he told us he'll be back in 5 and actually walked away! I was a little surprised and put off by his attitude but the night was young and the incident was soon forgotten.

First came the bread. Big chunks of crusty on outside and squidgy on the inside french loaf served with butter. It was a massive serving and at 95p per person I guess it wasn't a bad deal. Also, check out the MASSIVE olives! I've never seen them so big before. I call them olives on steroids .. heheh

Chorizo Rosario - slices of cured Spanish sausages flavoured with smoked paprika cooked in red wine. Oozing smokey oily goodness, this dish went beautifully with the bread.

Boquerones Fritos - deep fried whitebait. What's not to like? If you like fish, of course :)

Champinones al Ajillo - fried musrooms with garlic and a hint of chilli - mushroom yummy-ness. Mushrooms, white wine, garlic ... can't go wrong. We also had Gambas con Champinones Pil-Pil, which looked almost the same as the musroom dish with a few prawns thrown in. Tasted the same too - so let's not bother with another photo, shall we? (actually, the photo didn't come out too well.. hehe)

Tortilla Espanola - Spanish omelette. Specially requested by Pali for various special reasons ;) - one of them is of course that a good tortilla is the benchmark of a good Spanish restaurant. I rather liked this one. The chef managed to keep the potatoes and eggs fluffy and just a tad moist without being overcooked. No complains from me.

Albondigas de Ternera y Chorizo - beef and chorizo meatballs served in a tomato sauce. Not a bad meatball at all. No the best but definately no where near the worst either. Meaty enough for a meatball (I'm not overly keen on overly meaty meatballs as I think they tend to be too dry) with a good mix of seasoning.

And what would a visit be without the obligatory paella. The 'traditional' Paella Valenciana had seafood and meat. It wasn't a bad paella, just not as good as the one cooked for me by Charlene when I went to visit her and Jo in Valladolid ages and ages ago when we still at university. Ah.. that paella I still think about...... ah sweet thoughts indeed.

After all that food I won't blame you if you thought that would be it. But oh no.. these are three girls with super tummies and fill them we shall :D Dessert Time!Tarta de Santiago - described in the menu as 'a traditional Santiago de Compostela almond cake'. I wasn't sure what that meant (ok, it was an almond cake that I actually liked. Usually any baked goods with almonds in it tastes like...mothballs. To me! To me! No offence to other baked almond goods eaters out there) so I had to google it. Tarta de Santiago, also known as St James' Cake, is a traditional cake from northern Spain and is sometimes decorated with the Cross of the Order of Santiago. Santiago (St James) is the patron saint of Spain and the city of Santiago was, during the Middle Ages, one of the most important Christian pilgrimage sites in Europe. Well there you go then. You learn something new everyday.

Last but not least, Tarta de Limon. A tangy lemon tart served with a strawberry sauce. Nice tart, not so great sauce. It lacked spark... usually comes when the fruit isn't in season. Good meal overall. It must have come to about Twenty something pounds per person including a bottle of wine. Considering all the food we had, it wasn't bad at all.

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