This September I turned a milestone age, shhh 30 years old. I wanted to say bye to my twenties in style. I had a fairly big tick list for a finding somewhere to visit – a place big enough to celebrate in, where a lot of my friends hadn’t visited before, great food scene, a city to explore in, child-friendly, good weather the end of September and importantly with a pool. And where ticked all these boxes – Valencia!
With the villa (with pool) booked nine months before heading out, I had more than enough time to plan food activities and what restaurants to try. I’ve already written about the food tour with Lenny that we took part in but I want to share with you more about the restaurants we actually visited.
My cousin lived in Valencia for a year so managed to get some great tips from her, especially when it came to where to book for my birthday meal. Being a princess I wanted somewhere special and where everyone could dress up.
Firstly, the communication with the restaurant before head out was fantastic. Having little people in our group, they not only welcomed them into the restaurant but cooked individually ‘child-friendly’ dishes for them. Which I actually would say is fairly rare for a high-end restaurant.
Naturally, we started with a glass of cava whilst perusing what the eight courses would entail.
Amuse Bouche – Frozen Bloody Mary Bite
Presented on the coolest golden palm trees and monkey holders, a globe of peanut coated frozen shell with a liquid peppery Bloody Mary filling. This little morsel definitely has awoken our palates!
1st Course – Pickled and Salted Salad with Olive Oil
Not a just visually stunning dish, but the flavours of this plate was just out of this world. I believe it is one of La Salita’s signature dish and you can see why. Small diced fresh tomato amongst a combined salted and pickled diced fish, resulted in a light and flavoursome tartare of fish. The vibrant olive oil pooled in the middle added a peppery zest to the dish. Perfection.
2nd Course – Part 1 – Tempura Shiso Leaf, Mouse of Salmon Roe and Salmon Roe.
Balanced on a shiso leaf, with the thinnest coating of tempura, cubes of blush tender raw salmon with the gentle flavour of the ocean, paired with the more stronger flavour from the roe. A crowd favourite.
2nd Course – Part 2 – Braised Sardine, Beetroot Pickled Onions and Aubergine Puree
A combination of complementing texture and flavours, with the silkiest flavoursome puree studded with cubes of the meaty sardines. The richness of the puree and oily sardine is cut through with a glimmer of sharpness from the pickled onion.
2nd Course – Part 3 – Choux with Smoked Eel
A crisp shell, filled with the lightest savoury smooth cream, topped with a crown of a slightly caramelised smoked eel. For my first eel experience, I couldn’t think of a perfect way to try it.
3rd Course – Codfish with a Creamy Potato Foam and Parsley Oil and Pea Shoot
Nestled under a bed of airy potato foam, the perfect piece of poached cod. Juicy and fork tender. The freshness of the parsley oil and the pea shoot against the creaminess potato foam, keep the dish light and balanced.
4th Course – Grilled Red Mullet with Enoki Mushrooms, Mangetout and Mullet Liver Sauce.
A meaty fillet of mullet served with slivers of crisp mangetout and deep rich liver sauce soaking into the raw mushrooms spears and not a drop of sauce being left behind. A dish that managed to convert a non-fish lover to being a red mullet fan.
5th Course-Wild Chicken with Peanut and Tamarind Satay Sauce
A rich thick rib-sticking peanut sauce, with the tamarind’s sourness, brings the dish back from being overly rich to be just perfect. The chicken is the ideal vehicle to mop up all this fantastic sauce.
6th Course – Smoked Gazpacho with Anchovies and Tomato Cloud
This wasn’t your classic gazpacho. A smoky clean tomato base, with salty nuggets of anchovies and the showcase centrepiece, a frozen tomato consommé with burrata and topped with freeze-dried tomato. This tomato cloud completely blew my mind and palate. The cloud will stay with me after eating many more dishes in my life.
7th Course – Braised Lamb in Goat Milk and Kimchi and Mushrooms Duxelles
Again, another dish that completely blew me away. The lamb has been slow cooked in goat’s milk, was so tender, I’m sure just looking at it, would cause it to melt into the sauce, which had a slight goat milk taste whilst not have the farmyard characteristic that some goats milk has. The spice of the kimchi cut through the richness of the sauce but complemented the earthy duxelles. A star of a dish and a firm favourite of the group.
8th Course – Part 1 – Jamaican Flower Jelly, Melon and Mint Sorbet, Lemon Meringue and Hibiscus Wafer
A stunning dessert, that seemed too pretty to destroy with our spoons. I found out that Jamaican Flower is another name for hibiscus flowers. A tart but berry sweet jelly bursting with flavour. I loved the combination of the melon and refreshing mint, waking up the palate after the richness from the previous seven courses. The mix of textures and flavours were just brilliant.
8th Course – Part 2 – Coffee White Chocolate Doughnut with Coffee Mascarpone and Doughnut Cubes
This clever dessert was a doughnut shell made of white chocolate full of Bailey’s cream, best doughnut ever. With the ‘non-doughnut’ doughnut, cubes of compressed actual doughnuts to add nuggets of glazed sugary fried delight. The slightly bitter coffee mascarpone and chocolate sauce on the plate brought back the sweetness of the plate. Loved it.
Petit Fours – Miniature Ice Creams Lollies – Mango, Strawberry and White Chocolate and Dark Chocolate Ganache
When we thought we couldn’t possibly eat another morsel of delicious food, the petit fours arrived on a striking platform. Little ice creams of classic flavours, that perked us all you. Tropical clean mango, delicate fragrant strawberry with creamy vanilla white chocolate. And lastly, the one everyone exclaimed with delight when trying, a super rich almost ganache-like dark chocolate gelato with a shell of rich dark chocolate.
We had such a wonderful meal and experience, that I’m sure it will stay with us for years to come. The cost of the meal was surprising for such quality and standard, that just blew us away. Definitely the meal I was looking for to celebrate with on my birthday.
Slowly we walked back to our villa, where my friends had kindly arranged with our super host, Juan, to have delivered a surprise massive chocolate birthday cake. Will it have been rude not to have a slice…..
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