It's a pretty place - I pass on my way home from work and had always been intrigued by the constant stream of taxis pulling up and fancy vicuña-coated families smoking outside. For everyday dining it's way out of my budget , but when my mother came to visit we decided to give it a go.
There are several rooms inside, all of which display variations on a kind of renaissance near-royalty theme. Think big, brassy mirror frames, heavy chandeliers, colourful stucco walls and lots of paintings of prim-looking, round-faced ladies. The striped room is the best.
Clientele, as mentioned, is not touristy at all - more middle-aged couples, families and large companies of young, well-off businessmen and their wives. Very 'pijo.' Nonetheless, there are menus available in English and at least some staff who speak it. I did pick up a slightly derogatory vibe, though, although this might just be nervousness at interacting in a language you don't know so well.
There are complementary bite-sized appetizers on the house - ours was a pile of pickled greens (courgette, carrot, mushroom) underneath some tender cubes of beef. Nice, but not mindblowing. After that we shared a bottle of a local wine recommended by our server - again, it was satisfactory, but not much more. With it I had the wild sea bass with almond cream, grilled vegetables and a Malaga wine reduction. The fish was not cooked through, and the 'grilled vegetables' was half a carrot. This illustrates pretty well the whole approach of the restaurant - half a grilled carrot (unpeeled, with green tops) looks very chic, but it doesn't do much for your gastronomic experience. My mother had the monkfish and had to ask the server to bring her some salt for it to taste of anything at all. In better news, we asked for a green salad with our food and was brought an excellent plate of crispy fresh green leaves, sliced apple, sprouts and avocado. In all honesty I can't remember what I had for dessert, but I think that's more due to its guaranteed blandness than any approaching alzheimer.
All in all, it's a restaurant that kicks up far too much of a fuss for its culinary stature. It may seem a mysterious alternative hidden all the way up on Calle Guadalquivir, but your money is way better spent at Eslava two blocks closer to town.
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