El Cierzo

A Great Place to be Invited to Lunch


As a great believer in Darwin’s concept of the ‘survival of the fittest’, I have always taken the view that it is far better to eat an animal that is likely to eat you, without giving it the chance.

That is why, when I was told that there is a restaurant in Valencia with shark on the menu, I loaded up my harpoon and set off to find it straight away.

Cakke Mosén Fenollar is not in a very fashionable part of town, having very little to show for itself apart from the offices of the Red Cross, but it is often the case that some of the best deals and most original restaurants can be found in these places, jealously guarded secrets for those who’d prefer not to be surrounded by chattering tourists asking if they have fried onion rings on the side and Waldorf salad.

The shark is served battered (that way you can be sure it’s dead I suppose) with a delicious lemon garlic mayonnaise sauce.

Other delicious starters include thinly sliced marinated reindeer meat (thank God it wasn’t Christmas time), pigs trotters served as if they were spring rolls without the unsightly hooves, truffled eggs, cow cheeks (that knocks the dumb smile off their faces), and Cantabrian tuna in an orange sauce.

There are also a lot of the typical shellfish starters that you can get everywhere else, unlike the deer and boar stew, which I’d only ever come across in Germany before.

They have all the usual rice dishes too, but also nine different ‘meloso’ rices, which contain a fair amount of liquid rather than being fried dry like traditional paellas.

The décor is very brown and some of the lampshades are interesting enough to provoke speculation as to what they are supposed to be. Service is excellent with crockery and cutlery being removed after every course as if there were a sudden glut of trainee dishwashers in the kitchens.

The wine list is varied and challenging and the desserts are unusual too; I had the spicy bread ice cream with caramel, which was mouth-watering I’m afraid to say. I hope I didn’t embarrass myself.

El Cierzo is in C/ Mosén Fenollar 2. Telephone: 963423267

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