When researching eateries in Jerez, I came across one which I was extremely excited about as it perfectly fitted the nature of our trip. It’s name was Mesa Redonda and its ten tables served traditional recipes of the sherry dons of Jerez in a setting with the feel of a private house, including a library filled with old recipe books and literature about food and wine. So you can imagine that we were looking forward to having a leisurely lunch followed by a chat with the owner and some culinary reading.
When arriving at Jerez train station, with three hours before our winery tour, we set off in the search for ‘the round table’. Unfortunately, this search turned out to be fruitless as after wandering around for the best part of an hour we ended up in an urbanisation where we asked a passer-by the restaurant’s whereabouts. The moment he said that it no longer existed, our excited faces must have completely deflated. It was too good to be true! However, he said, el dueño (the owner) had opened a tapas bar further out of town with the same chef. With our enthusiasm regained, we set off on our way again continuing the search
When we came to the address we were somewhat disappointed, as instead of the homely feel bar we were expecting, the tapas bar was very white, modern and appeared rather upmarket and thus not the feel for which we were hoping. We decided to stay anyway as we had walked for so long and we had been told the food was good. This, it turned out, was the understatement of the century… The food was exquisite and the best I have tasted so far on the trip. We decided to order a mixture of tapas and share them so that we could taste everything. As an amuse-bouche we were given patatas bravas with a difference. Replacing the standard spicy tomato sauce was a spicy paprika mayonnaise which was divine. Considering that the house patatas bravas often indicate the quality of the cooking, we couldn’t wait to try the other tapas.
So we had: (all were absolutely delicious, so I won’t repeat myself, just descriptions!
Grilled Asparagus with Romesco and Parmesan perfectly cooked, slightly charcoaled
Potatoes dressed with sherry vinegar and iberian ham a stack of sliced potatoes with sprinklings of ham
Fish meatballs with prawn cream soft and subtle, with a light and creamy sauce to compliment’
Mesa Redonda’s Bull tail extremely soft meat, served with mash potato and a gravy- a rather English style dish, first taste of bull tail and it certainly won’t be the last!
Roasted pork leg with plum sauce little tasty skewers with a sweet and sticky sauce
Magret of duck with citrus sauce full of flavour with a nice zest to contrast the sweet meat
The owner, a very friendly chap, then came over for a chat and read out the desserts, with our response being ‘mmmmm’ after ‘oooooo’ etc, and we ordered a dark chocolate torte which was similar to a brownie but more gooey with real chocolate sauce. I went for white chocolate ganache with a chocolate topping. A distinct memory of my childhood was in a restaurant in Portugal, of which I remember nothing about except the white chocolate ganache pyramid that my brother and I shared. Since then, every time that I have seen a dessert along the same lines, I have ordered it and been disappointed as it has not quite lived up to that pyramid in Portugal. But this one definitely rivalled it! Perfection in a pot, it was not too heavy, not too sickly, not too thick, not too bubbly, it was just right!
We left absolutely delighted that we had made the effort to venture that bit further out of the city. This also really taught us again that when it comes to Spanish eateries, the decor rarely illustrates the quality of the food; after all you should never judge a book by its cover!