Two things surprised me when we entered the Alqueria de Brosquil restaurant; firstly that it was such a contrast with its surroundings, and after such a torturous drive getting there, secondly that it was practically empty despite the plethora of waiters, and thirdly that my friend Joaquin was told he couldn’t book a table two weeks later because they were already full.
Despite living in Valencia for over 30 years I had never heard of the place, and so it was a pleasant surprise to discover this converted farmhouse in the middle of the huerta just outside Castellar. In fact it’s only been running since 2008, so there may be some excuse for my negligence, that and the crisis which swept restaurants from my agenda for many years.
What was even more pleasant was the food, typically Valencia fare but with some touches that linger, such as the baked (I think) octopus tentacle in batter, which literally melted in my mouth and which I can still taste now despite having brushed my teeth at least twice since yesterday.
Of course it could be a problem with my teeth but I don’t think so, and neither do the people who filled the restaurant to the brim by 3 pm on an ordinary Friday lunchtime.
Admittedly we had arrived a bit early so as to have a relaxing beer in the patio before going in to one of the three dining rooms.
Brosquil offers all the traditional Valencian starters, and also a few I wasn’t so familiar with such as Titaina (stir-fry: tomato, red pepper, pinions, garlic, tuna) or Mandonguilles de Abadejo (cod meatballs) or sepieta amb alls tendres (cuttlefish and garlic shoots).
Rice is king inevitably; in fact, on the way there, you pass some of the nearest rice fields to the city of Valencia, just before parking between lemon and persimmon trees.
The main dining room is quite interesting, with a glass wall giving onto the lemon orchard, but, if you sit in the right place, you can see lorries passing over the canopy of the trees! No it’s not a delusion, nor an excess of wine, but a flyover in the distance heading towards Valencia’s busy port.
I let Joaquin do the ordering (and the paying if I must break tradition and be honest) as he is a regular diner here, and so we got what they call a mellow rice, the more liquid one like a risotto, specifically arros senyoret amb rotjos (seafood without skin or bones rice with red prawns).
They décor is relaxing and stimulating at the same time, with some nice art, an old bicycle at the entrance, and best of all, the urinals have individual lids, which leads to wild speculation and is probably totally innocent for all I know.
They also offer some fish and fewer meat dishes, but this is not a place where you come for that stuff; this is a rice restaurant.
Brosquil is open every lunchtime and Saturday nights.