Friday, 26 September 2014

Atravessando a ponte para delícias Crossing the bridge to deliciousness


Hoje,estava o nosso dia descanso primeiro depois meses do trabalho ( today was our first day off after months of hard work) so with an autumn spring in our step the thespian and I put our best foot forward and headed across the bridge to Spain.It was time for a little relaxez-vous and some care from the community.What better place to achieve this than in Plaza de la Laguna,the main square in Ayamonte where you can find La Puerta Ancha.


The lovely Clíodhna Browne gives you a big warm welcome, seats you and makes sure a bottle of Marcelo, our favourite Albarinho wine, is on the table while we make our selection. 
 La Puerta Ancha directly translated means "wide door"
In the past the bar was used as a stable for horses and carts to break their journey from the port to Portugal or further into the hinterland of Andalucia and far reaching Spain.Over a period of time the merchants, while stabling their animals, began to find a use for La Puerta in the form of a meeting place,and since the start of the century it evolved into a bar.It is now the oldest bar in Ayamonte, serving the most modern food but fantastically without losing its original structure and charm.This is all down to the food and ingredients being served with a modern twist under the creative culinary direction of Fabio Zerbo, originally from Piedmont in Italy.
Piquillo peppers with tuna and pea cream
Why do I love I love Fabio´s food so much? Well, when I started out in catering all those years ago, Piedmont was my original point of reference. Piedmont's cuisine is famous for its immense variety of antipasti and is also known for rich dishes featuring truffles and cream sauces, but it’s also Italy’s most culinarily progressive region.It is quite plain to see where Fabio's modern tapas menu is coming from.
Take for instance his Porcini mushroom risotto served with white truffle oil.The flatlands of Piedmont are the source of Europe’s prominent supplier of Carnaroli rice, prized for creamy risotto.Piedmont, which also happens to be Italy’s most developed and industrial area, has for a long time now been forging a new identity as an exciting and progressive restaurant region, where young local chefs have been playing catch-up (and forming close ties) with Spain’s avant-gardists.  No surprise then that this master of re-invention is finding ways of bringing together a myriad of international tapas style eating.

 Tuna tartare on seaweed wakame,where food becomes art

Fabio won the award in 2011 for best tapa of the region with his Minced beef in a sauce of mushrooms and melted strips of brie. He is constantly re-inventing and consequently favourite dishes die hard, as has been the case with one of my favourites the mouth watering Mussels sautéed with basil and cream.But there are stalwart dishes that we keep returning for,dishes so delicious you could never tire of.Taste for example the Tataki tuna with wasabi and pickled ginger or his take on chicken yakitori.This Michelin tyred chef, (yes in his former life Fabio worked for Michelin Tyres in Italy) will own his Michelin star.

Carpaccio of wild boar with parmesan and rocket
Our favourite  prawn skewers always something to return for
 Thank you Puerta Ancha for another lovely table of food
By the way You need "The Wide Door" to get out!”   


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