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I was very fortunate to be invited by my student and friend Andres to lunch. Andres is from Sevilla, living in Madrid and wanted to give me the opportunity to taste some of his favourite dishes from his homeland of Andalucia. The restaurant is named after the tower of the cathedral in Sevilla. As you will see from the pictures below, is littered with bullfighting memorabilia, as the owner was actually a “torero” himself and from his earnings in the plaza de toros of Spain has managed to establish numerous restaurants across the capital. There is even a Bull’s head in the main dining area as if to keep an eye on you while you eat.

The food was wonderful, and made with a lightness of touch that might appear simple but believe me, takes time to perfect. The wine was “Verdejo” and was served very cold. It was really fresh tasting and accompanied the fish wonderfully.

The matador pictured below is “Manolete” which is also the name of a 2007 film starring Adrien Brody and Penelope Cruz. He was arguably one of the most famous matadors in Spanish history and regarded by many as the best ever. He was, according to Andres, famed for his ability to allow the bull to pass several times whilst remaining on exactly the same spot.

To start we ate “tortillita de camarones” which was a batter made from special flour, I believe it was corn flour, eggs and water, mixed with tiny prawns and parsley and fried in very hot olive oil. The result was a kind of cookie like texture, crispy on the outside with some give in the middle.

Next was “Boquerones fritos” deep fried battered anchovies. As you can see, from the picture, they look beautiful. Different from my attempt a while back as you have to have thoroughly dry the fish in order for the batter to coat the fish successfully. Check out my effort here… I will be returning to this dish.

Here is a photo of the next course. more batter but this time, two different items. On the left we ate “huevas fritas” which is fish eggs served in there own bags! On the right, “bienmesabe” (roughly translated as “I like the taste”) this was dogfish, marinated in vinegar and herbs and then battered and deep fried in hot olive oil. I’m not exaggerating when I say that this was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. It was a new flavour for me, so fresh tasting (a sensation that I am always striving for in the kitchen.) Wonderful.

Next up, “berenjenas fritas” or aubergine fritters with a hidden surprise of pickled beetroot and pieces of sliced onion underneath. Again, cooked with such an amazing lightness of touch.

Finaly the meal was ended with a glass of sweet Andlucian dessert wine from Cordoba with a little Manchego cheese and friend almonds. A delicious end to the meal. Thanks again to Andres for not only inviting me, but guiding me through specific Andalucian dishes that I might not have had the foresight to try!

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