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Las Nenas Restaurant, Huercal Overa

1 Aug

Last night we headed off to one of our larger local towns, Huercal Overa, to meet up with friends for dinner.  It was our friend Sue’s birthday and so we were taken to a new discovery by them – we were warned that it was “on the pricey side” but thought, hey, we deserve it!  Anyhow, we love Huercal Overa old town with its pretty squares, arches and old church and don’t really go there often enough, even though it is only 15 minutes drive away, so we parked the car and took a stroll towards where Gordon had directed us.

We arrived first and so sat outside for a pre dinner drink in the pedestrian street – the décor inside the bar is very modern and beautifully done. The owners hail from Huercal Overa itself, but the chef, Semi Garcia, previously worked in a two star Michelin restaurant in Alicante called El Girasol (The Sunflower).

The restaurant is set on the first floor of this beautiful old family home, reached by a marble staircase,  and  has been elegantly converted to a series of stunning dining areas, rarely seen, it has to be said, in this region.  There are two private dining rooms and then the main restaurant which is made up of tables for two or four, whereas the private dining rooms are for larger parties of around 10 people.  They can offer tailor made menus for special occasions or dietary requirements at a fixed price.

Gordon and Sue have been here twice before and so knew what a treat we were in for!  Semi Garcia and his partner are clearly passionate about what they do and he explained that although it is a legal requirement to provide a written menu, much of what he was offering us didn’t appear on it!  He is a great salesman and before we knew it we had ordered far too many starters.  His partner has a great command of the English language too and so was able to explain in great detail, what was on offer.  They have an array of salads which are more likely to be seen on menus in foodie regions such as San Sebastian than around here, beautiful leaves, grilled goats cheese, pineapple, top quality pata negra (the jamon from the acorn fed pigs) and served with a complex tasting dressing.  We had the plumpest and softest steamed mussels with a hint of lemon and wine, fried baby squid and boquerones (fresh anchovies, a little like whitebait), pate – more like a home made terrine – so we all dove in and then panicked about leaving room for the main course.

The boys had cod roasted with a little chilli and olive oil served on a bed of finely chopped vegetables – I thought of my father when this arrived – he has a passion for cod, and the size of these pieces were enough to make me remember to take him there when he is here next.  Sue has solomillo de buey – fillet of Ox – just incredible in size and quality, and I had Secreto iberico, literally secret pork – it is a cut which is not pretty to look at, but I have cooked it myself at home and the flavour is sensational. It is a cut from the back of the shoulder and is marbled with fat (hence the taste!).  The portion was so massive it would have been enough for 2 or 3 people.

Unfortunately we just could not manage any of their home made desserts this time – but they look pretty amazing.

With a couple of bottles of wine, drinks and plenty of mineral water plus coffee our bill came to a reasonable 35 euros a head.  This is one of the best restaurants I have eaten in since we moved here 7 years ago.  Please try it and make sure that it keeps going!

Las Nenas Restauarant Huercal Overa Telephone Number: 950 470 185

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Huercal Overa

9 Jan

On one of the days before Christmas, we all went off to Huercal Overa, a town about 20 minutes from here.  It is an attractive little town, with a population of around 16,000 and is where we go if we are unfortunate enough to need the hospital – a huge, fantastically modern one!

 

One day when my family were here, we decided we needed and drive out, some fresh air and a walk and then would find somewhere to have lunch.  Huercal Overa has several lovely little squares and a very large one – it is an interesting place to have a wander – there is a theatre and a cinema as well as lots of great places to eat and drink.  It is cold when we go, so we have a good mooch around the shops and then pop into the theatre café for some coffee and hot chocolate before finding somewhere for lunch.

A crisp but cold day in Huercal Overa

We decide to walk to the main square where we know a good Spanish restaurant – all restaurants offer a 3 course menu del dia for 10 or 12 euros, sometimes less, but all we want is something casual today.  We order a variety of pizza, chicken and pork dishes with glass of vino – all very good and great value.  I am just thinking it is another meal I don’t have to make – as you know, I love to cook, but not for 9 twice a day!

 

There is a great Christmas market here during the week between Christmas and New Year (they  celebrate Christmas on the 6th January!) so good to visit then for something different to see even if you are not in the market for shopping yourself!

 

As you enter Huercal Overa from the motorway you will notice vast amounts of pine trees which were planted some years ago – it is the first forest in the area for 500 years and takes on a kind of alpine look but really is beautiful and stands out from the dessert like landscape of the region.

 

Huercal Overa is lovely to visit any time of year so look it up next time you are here.