So THIS happened. Sevilla is now a Guinness World Record holder for the longest tapas bar – approximately 500 metres (reports vary). Sponsored by Makro, some 300 bars and restaurants set up along the riverfront between the San Telmo and Isabela bridges, offering more than 45,000 tapas (reports on those numbers vary too). Whatever. It was big, there were lots of bars participating and lots & lots of tapas.
It was also terribly disorganised. Scheduled to run from 10 am to 4 pm, I got there around 11 o’clock only to find it hadn’t yet opened (surprise!) and a long queue already forming. Luckily (??) my back had gone into spasm earlier in the morning, so I was walking with a crutch and a sympathetic security guard let me wait in the Gin Tent so I could sit down.
There was already a lot of food put out, which was going to be given out for free, but all I could think of was all that possible salmonella as most of the tables were right out in the blazing sun (already quite hot at 11, and of course it just got hotter) and many of the tapas were mayonnaise-based (Hellman’s was also a sponsor). At 12.15 they finally started letting people in and – once again because of the crutch – they let me skip the queue. My original plan had been to just check it out, take a few pics and get outta there (I never like this sort of mass food thing) but by then the pain in my back got the better of me, so while I did shuffle almost the entire length of the “bar”, trying to take photos while managing a crutch was suddenly more than I could manage.
The bright spot of this whole hot mess was getting to sample some Tanqueray Flor de Sevilla gin, which seems to be popping up everywhere these days. I’m actually not a gin drinker (due to an Unfortunate Gin Incident when I was a teenager) but I had tried this gin in a cocktail at the Ispal lunch the other day, so was curious as to how it would taste on its own with just a splash of tonic. Verdict – very nice indeed. But I still wouldn’t drink more than a sip or two.
Anyhow, Sevilla now holds the world record for Longest Tapas Bar. And I should have stayed home. 😉
A Friday afternoon stroll to Triana to look for a new food dish for Morcilla (don’t ask) turned into a delightful surprise visit to brand new tapas bar and restaurant Alfarería 21. This is part of a larger project by Paco Arcas, who owns the nearby Las Golondrinas bars, which will include a boutique hotel. The entire project comprises 3-4 buildings and I was first shown around the site a few years ago, before construction had begun. Then in March Paco took me on another tour of the site and the transformation was stunning.
Anyhow, it turned out that the Alfarería 21, housed in the old Casa Montalván ceramics factory, had just opened the previous day and so of course I couldn’t resist stopping for a couple of tapas and a chat with Paco. The menu is still provisional and so changes will be made, most likely to include separate menus for the bar area downstairs and the first floor restaurant. And the hotel is due to open soon. The rooms I saw in March were gorgeous – can’t wait to go on an overnight “staycation”. More photos below…
Palo Cortao opened two years ago in a teeny-tiny spot in El Arenal, and it was an instant success. Run by husband & wife team Ana and Ángel, it specialized in charcuterie and luxe tinned fish, along with a handful of exquisite tapas prepared by Ángel in a “kitchen” that was the size of a small closet. It also had an amazing wine list, including some wonderful sherries.
Yesterday I received a message from A & A saying that Friday was going to be their last day (!!) so I hurried over to say goodbye. Turns out it wasn’t the sad affair I thought it might be. It’s actually good news as Ana and Ángel have been planning to move to bigger and better premises but just haven’t had time to look while still working. So they are going to take a couple months off to find a perfect spot and then reopen as soon as possible. Looking forward to seeing Palo Cortao chapter two.