Jerez de la Frontera, located in Southern Spain, is known for it’s horse and cattle ranches. Also famous are the vineyards which produce world reknown sherry. For Robin Graham, our eloquent guest writer from Tarifa, Jerez de la Frontera is also known for skimpy lamb tapas. What is this in Spain? The more upscale the restaurant, the more specialized the tapas, the bigger the hit on your wallet and the skimpier the tapas?
By Robin Graham
When they bring me a single baby lamb’s rib on a little slate platter, my first reaction is to wonder whether someone’s having fun with me. I’ve just spent three euros fifty on this – I was expecting maybe two or three. I’m not above stealing the odd slate platter, you know, when sufficiently outraged by a price/portion ratio. These people don’t know who they’re dealing with.
I’ve done it before. As I type I’m eating some toast from a little round platter I stole from an over-priced jamón (ham) joint in Seville. You’d be surprised at the consistency with which poor, overpriced portions get served on slate platters, so they have become something of a focal point for my attempts at revenge, and they make much nicer souvenirs than fridge magnets.
I leave it this time though. Apart from anything else, the bar tender is watching me closely – I don’t suppose it’s everyone that photographs their costilla before tucking in. I must admit it’s delicious – tender and served in a crispy batter, laced with honey. The four-and-a-half-seconds it takes to eat it are very enjoyable indeed, then I’m at a loose end again.
The surroundings as well are beautifully done, if I’m being fair. Billing itself as a gastrobar, El Reino de León is one of Jerez de la Frontera’s smarter places, and I really should mention that we see some very good-looking food served around us. The crowd is youngish and well-to-do and there’s an enviable selection of fine sherries by the glass if you’re willing to fork up the money.
I’d happily recommend it as a contrast to the town’s more down-to-earth tabancos (bars that serve wine from the barrel) and tapas joints. You can expect some very accomplished food here; just don’t expect much bang for your buck – you’re unlikely to find yourself letting your belt out, unbuttoning a button, or burping.
El Reino de León Gastrobar, Calle Latorre, 8, Jerez de la Frontera
Have you been tempted to steal from a restaurant?
Robin Graham writes about Andalusia, Spain and some other stuff. His stories can be found,with accompanying photography, at http://alotofwind.com/ He’s a private person but, strangely, doesn’t mind being followed : @robinjgraham or liked (on Facebook) : alotofwind.com. Photography at http://robingraham.wix.com/de-la-luz#!portfolio