LA REINA DE CANOVAS
Also in the group
Taberna La Reina
Why am I telling you all this? Well, I had the very good fortune to go to a stunning new restaurant only recently opened by the very sucssesful group that owns Taberna La Reina and another branch in Convento Santa Clara, between the Ayuntamiento and the Station. Taking the theme of the other two, elaborate montiditos and tapa, but 'upping the ante' to much more luxurious level. The decor is beautiful, a long bar, clean creams and beiges, a relaxed seating area towards the back and an interior/exterior terrace for outdoor lovers (and smokers). This is a place where you can just pop in for a drink and a snack - on display in glass cases on the bar - or spend a few hours over delicious food.
We spent around three hours sampling dish after dish of fresh, beautifully presented and prepared quality food on a hot afternoon last week. The temperature had just begun to soar and it was great to be in the cool surroundings of this excellent restaurant.
Jim Harris, the chef, an old friend since his days as owner/chef some years ago of a groundbreaking little restaurant just off the Ayuntamiento, told us that he would serve us the menú del día with a few key dishes to show us what was on offer. Before I tell you what we ate I need to tell you the menú del día is just 12€ and is one of Valencia's absolute bargains.
We began by ordering an excellent bottle of Quinta de Tarsus, roble. It's a very drinkable Ribera del Duero and good value at 17€ a bottle.
Montaditos* came first - three of them one of Morcilla de Burgos (blood sausage) topped with a quail's egg, one of Lomo Iberico (pork loin) with melted brie, and a bacon and red pepper confection that also included grilled red pepper and a green sauce. Each was a small meal in itself and at between 2 and 3 euros each, bargains.
The owner of the group is a keen fisherman and the next course was a cured tuna (escabeche), caught just three days earlier by Eduardo, the owner, it was served with tomato, vanilla and a little toque (spray) of Japanese lime. A really unusual flavour.
Next came a delicious mi cuit de foie with a chocolate and membrillo (quince jelly) sauce, served with melba toasts.
After this came La Reina's star turn, Huevo poché a la trufa con patatas, chorizo y crujiente de Jamon. (Poached Egg with truffle, potato, chorizo and crisp bacon) It's their most popular dish, but we liked almost everything else we ate better than this.
Jim has a lady to come in each day to prepare the rice of the day, in his opinion she makes Valencia's best paellas, fideuas and arroces, so we have her to thank for the Arroz con costillas y setas*, (Rice with pork ribs and wild mushrooms) a first for me and very nice it was too!
Our very sweet server came to clear our plates and to tell us that there were just two dishes remaining, a fish course and a meat course. We were already an hour and a half into the visit and getting quite full, but it as all just so good!
She presented us next with Bacalao en tres texturas* - cod, grilled, in a pastry and stuffed in a red pepper with a pil pil foam. Light and delightful.
Our final dish of the afternoon was a Solomillo de Novillo con patatas, terrine de foie confitada y Salsa Pedro Ximénez. Succulent pieces of beef with Foie and a brandy sauce.
Not quite the final dish because we had to have a fuente de postres (a selection of desserts) -A chocolate brownie, Apple tart, an orange sponge and fresh cherries and cream.
I can't recommend this restaurant more highly, it was a perfect meal, fresh well prepared and presented, served by amiable staff in relaxed and comfortable surroundings.
The asterisked dishes were on the day's Menú del Día which changes daily according to market.