I want to live in Eslava - forever.
Who would have thought a small room painted a very challenging hue of blue and very brightly lit could be so wonderful? If you are there at 7.30pm you might get a table at the back yet here you'd not be eating several embarassing hours earlier than anyone else in Seville. Within minutes a crowd of locals and of enthusiastic visitors pack the place; you can also eat at the bar or at the high tables outside.
The service is fantastic any time of day and in spite of crowds, heat and the constant pleading of people for tables I never saw a ruffled hair or grimace from the staff.
The expected traditional tapas are here, including sardines and sliced ham, pork cheeks, peppers stuffed with salt cod and Spanish cheeses but Eslava has won prizes for their newer creations. The long cigar of cuttlefish and something green is a triumph of presentation, bound to make you laugh or smirk (especially if you have a smutty mind) and tastes great too. So does the slow-cooked egg yolk on a warm mousse of wild mushroom. As for what else is on the menu, you'd better make the effort to get there - the treats on offer change constantly.
They pour spirits while looking the other way - a double is fairly much a tumbler-full. Here I discovered Gin di Mare, scented with herbs that grow on the stony shores of the Med. They'll want to add lemon zest and fresh thyme to the ice cubes but first sip it solo, without ice. It's one of the few 'new' gins that delivers difference.
Oh yes, as well as being amazingly moderate in price, there's no service charge added or expected. That adds huge enjoyment!
If ever you hear I'm lost in Seville, I won't be. I'll be enslaved at Eslava.
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