Yet another five-star hotel going up in the barrio, this time taking over yet another of our landmark buildings which, as you can see, used to be people’s homes. Some say that posh hotels are good business and better than holiday apartments as they provide employment, blah blah. To me this just makes them the lesser of two evils. I don’t know the history behind this building, though I do remember when people lived there. So not sure if they were forced out or what. The building next to it was turned into a hotel a few years ago and another five-star opened up the street last year. Sadly it’s looking like El Arenal is on its way to becoming a tourist ghetto like Santa Cruz is now.
A couple of weeks ago I ran into a friend of mine enjoying snails outside a very popular snail bar (they’re in season now) and he was with a pal who happened to be a chef at a restaurant I wrote a rather scathing review about a few years ago (2013, this chef wasn’t there at that time). Anyhoodle, I took a pic of them and posted it on my Instagram and the next day got a message from the new owner of this place, asking me if I’d like to come and have a meal to see if I might enjoy it better than last time. I said sure, I mean why not, and then asked if I could bring a friend. And so I brought my friend Fourat with me, the same person who had been with me at that last disastrous meal back in 2013, it just seemed fitting. Fourat thought so too.
So today we showed up for lunch and it was lovely. Since Covid the new management (brother and sister team) has redone the whole place, including the menu, which now has a few Peruvian influenced dishes as Pedro has spent years in Peru running a restaurant there. It looked like a very interesting menu.
Gotta say, the main ISSUE of the previous visit had been the absolutely appalling and frankly rude service. It was only when I saw Fourat’s jaw drop open at one point after an especially rude bit that I knew I wasn’t just being over sensitive. We paid. We left. We never went back. Because you can have the best food in the world (and trust me, this wasn’t that) but if the service sucks then so does the entire experience.
Of course today we were going to get the VIP treatment, so I was mostly focused on the food. Which was excellent. Original takes on traditional dishes, the aforementioned Peruvian ones, lovely lemon and cava sorbet for dessert, all of which left us wanting to come back and try more. I really appreciate that Pedro got in touch because of course things change and he gave me – and Fourat – the chance to take another look.
So it’s been a while! The last time Corpus Christi was celebrated here was in 2019, so everyone was pretty excited to have it back again. And even though it was tough getting up so early today I’m glad I did. Walked the rosemary strewn procession route before the procession started, even caught them bringing the La Cena paso to the Cathedral. But by the time I’d walked the route and taken some photos, and generally just enjoyed being out in the fresh morning air, it was time for breakfast. So as usual I didn’t see the actual procession. Maybe next year. Pics below…