There are surely few places with such an international history in Valencia as Dandy Horse. The name itself, in English as is much of what you can see in this original Cycle Café, is the result of years of travelling all over the world.
Dandy Horse is the brainchild of Sara Amador, although it is not a one-woman operation. Her sister Celeste is, as Sara points out, essential to the success of this project, which consists of a bar/restaurant and bicycle repair shop.
That’s right, you read correctly.
The wheels and chain part of the formula are provided by the girls’ uncle Juan Carlos, who can usually be found in a corner of the premises putting environmentally-friendly travellers back on the road again.
Sara’s story is quite complex, so take a deep breath; her parents were aid workers who were constantly on the move, and so she was born in Tenerife, but spent her childhood soaking up other cultures in Portugal, Italy and Mexico.
Celeste joined her sister on her travels in Italy, being born in Palermo, Sicily.
But wait! There are more pins to be stuck in the map as both sisters have taught in a British school in Bahrain, and Sara has also lived in Houston Texas, where she picked up a liking for Tex-Mex food.
And there’s more. The Dandy Horse was a German bicycle without pedals, inventeld in Mannheim, which used to be ridden by German gentlemen in top hats in the days when the horse was facing its eclipse as a favoured form of transport, hence the name.
All of that travelling has worked its way onto the menu, an eclectic mix of Mexican and Canary Island dishes, and even a curry wurst, as well as such cosmopolitan favourites as carrot cake.
When Sara finally touched down in Valencia she decided to follow her vocation to be a cook, and studied at the Altaviana cookery school. While studying there she did her work practice at the Palace Fesol restaurant and so impressed the owners that they contracted her on completion of her studies.
She later worked at a hotel in Torrente, although her dream was to run her own place and be her own boss.
The idea for Dandy Horse came from some British friends who ran something similar in Serbia, which completes our world tour, although only for the moment I suspect, as Dandy Horse draws members of Valencia’s large foreign community as a clear example of a friendly neighbourhood place to mix with both locals and international people while you get your chain tightened or your nuts and bolts checked.
A lot of thought has gone into Dandy Horse; even Einstein pitched in, leaving one of his quotes on the awning outside, while on the inside there are photos of the Beatles and the Bee Gees on their bikes, and scenes from films featuring bicycles.
Dandy Horse opened in July 2014 and the Amador family has all sorts of loving plans to open it up to Valencia, including English classes and storytelling sessions for children.
It is situated in Calle Antonio Suárez 34, near Avenida Aragón.