Now, it's important to highlight the deal here. If you have kids who are only interested in eating chicken nuggets and chips or sausages etc., forget this place. If you are also a fussy eater and want chips or any kind of convenience food or an extensive menu, don't come. However, if you want seriously good country cooking with simple but excellent food, this place is a real treat. It's really off the beaten track and a word of warning, make sure you have a designated driver to get you back as you are in for a long, relaxed dining experience with LOTS of wine. But what a find awaits you! First thing to highlight is first impressions. When you arrive outside, you look at what seems a dilapidated old building and think ' this can't be it'. You go up a flight of old stone steps and then....you are transformed back in time by a couple of hundred years. It's like stepping into someone's private dining room. In fact, this is exactly what you are doing. We had Sunday lunch at Verdi Vent last week on a very hot summer day. We were given a choice of where to sit and we chose an anteroom off the main dining room that had open windows and doors so a lovely cool breeze ran through the room. Anyway, what's the food and service like I hear you ask - get to the point! Incredible. There was 3 of us. First thing put on the table was a huge carafe (1 litre) of local red wine. As I had to drive, we reluctantly declined the red vino (shock, horror I hear those of you who know me say). We did accept a bottle of local white (not bad) and water. A basket of bread and some gorgeous hummus and tomato / tuna / onion salad was put on the table. There is no menu at Verdi Vent. The owner will tell you what chef has on today (she and her husband). On Sunday, we had a choice of mains: an Argentinian entrecot steak; lamb on the bone; or duck with orange sauce. My son had the steak; and me and my wife opted for the local oven cooked lamb. Before the mains, we were served soup - but with a difference. Out came a large pot with a ladle that was placed in the middle of our table and we helped ourselves to the most simple but amazing vegetable soup. Then, after a little while, we were all served a nice salad. All fresh, local ingredients with chef's own dressing. It's that good, he should bottle it and sell this. The mains came after another while. Relaxed dining is the order of the day here. My son's steak was absolutely superb. A large, thick and perfectly cooked (medium) steak with home made sauce, fresh vegetables and potatoes on the side. Our lamb on the bone came straight from the oven and was massive. It was also served with freshly cooked carrots, mini roasted peppers, and boiled potatoes in their jackets. The lamb was simply wonderful. Tender, melt on the mouth stuff. A feast. To finish. we were offered home made crepes with a tangy orange sauce and cream (I don't think there is a choice of deserts). Coffee and liqueurs to finish. How much did this all cost? It's €18 euro per head. For 5 courses as described, relaxed service and ambiance and all the wine you can drink (red, white or rose). To find Verdi Vent, take the sign off the N332 for Jalon (also spelled Xalo) just outside Benissa. As you approach Jalon, there is a petrol (gas) station on your left. Turn into the petrol station and you will see an unlikely little single track (almost a lane) running off the back. Go up this lane (signed Maserof). Drive up into the hills on this rural road for 10 mins or so, and you will arrive at Verdi Vent in the glorious Spanish countryside. You need to make a booking so make sure you call beforehand. This place can be full even mid-week. I am looking forward to my next visit!
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