Well this made my day! Yesterday I met up with Peter after running a couple of errands as we wanted to visit the new location of a fabulous local cheese shop. We started going down Sierpes and Peter said, “let’s take Cuna”, so that’s what we did. And a good thing too because when we almost reached the end of the street I suddenly I heard someone say: “¡Mira! Es la más bonita y más buena de Sevilla!”
And this masked man walks up to me, saying, “you don’t recognise me, do you?”. And I kind of did, but I also didn’t and struggled to recall until he finally said, “It’s me, Eme!”. And oh, how stupid did I feel for not recognising him. Because I adore Eme, but to be fair, he had the mask on and – most importantly – wasn’t standing behind his bar.
In March 2020 I wrote a sad update on Bar Casa Eme’s page on Sevilla Tapas announcing that after 25 years Eme had closed the doors on his bar for good. And I haven’t seen him since, though I had been trying to get in touch with him for his famous solomillo al whisky recipe (hands down the best in Sevilla). Turned out the phone number I had for him wasn’t actually his.
If you follow me on Instagram you may recall that I had come across a newspaper article about the strange history of solomillo al whisky (article is in Spanish). I knew that this tapa had originated in Sevilla but didn’t realise it was actually attributed to a specific bar. In this article, the bar owner included the recipe and so of course I had to try it. But I mean, I was already having my doubts as soon as I got started because the ingredients didn’t seem to be in the correct proportions and, while the result wasn’t bad, it also wasn’t anything like Eme’s, or any other bar that makes a decent “al whisky” (which by the way, has no whisky in it). So the next day I made my way over to Bar Rioja Pasaje to sample their famous version, and I gotta admit it was pretty good. Later I talked to the owner, mentioning the article and how I’d tried the recipe without success and he LAUGHED in my face, saying he had left out a “secret ingredient” on purpose. Bastard. Yeah, and also tripled the amount of butter necessary. What an asshole.
A few days later I tried again, tweaking the recipe (less butter, more lemon) and it turned out better, but still not quite right. And I kept wishing I could chat with Eme to find out where I was going wrong. And then, yep, suddenly there he was in the street yesterday, giving me his mobile number again (I had been one number out!) and saying we’d have to meet up for a beer and then he could give me the recipe without rushing. Omg I love this guy. Not only did he have one of the most unique bars in the city (everybody misses him!) but he made all his food on two gas rings in his cubbyhole kitchen he also served all the drinks, and kept the bar going totally on his own. Legend. I can’t wait for us to meet up. 🙂