Monday, 11 May 2015

Review of Restaurant La Forastera, on La Gomera

If you're in La Gomera, make sure you don't walk past this place.

I've just returned from a little sunshine holiday in La Gomera, the smallest of the Canary Islands. As you'd probably expect from such a tiny island in the middle of nowhere, the food on the whole was quite simple and rustic- nothing too fancy. We had a few dodgy meals (unidentified, mysterious cuts of meat, including a rather dubious pork chop that certainly was not a pork chop), and a few good ones too. Tapas style lunches were the way to eat out, with dishes like croquettes and Padron peppers being a speciality and always a hit.

However, I just had to dedicate a blog post to our best discovery, a restaurant called La Forastera, in the town of San Sebastian. We'd done a bit of research on trip advisor (classic tourists), and seen some really good reviews for this place, so we decided to go for lunch; and what a lovely lunch it was too!

We started off by ordering a bottle of white wine from La Gomera, which we enjoyed at one of the tables outside in the street, where we could people watch to our hearts content. The sun was out as we perused the menu, before shortly deciding on sharing one of each of the four tapas of the day, which included beef carpaccio, courgette and roquefort bake, bruschetta with prosciutto, and Galician octopus. We waited in anticipation, whilst discussing the merits of drinking at lunch time.... (it is rare for us to talk about anything other than food or drink as a family, worryingly so!)

After a short wait, our tapas arrived, each dish presented beautifully, garnished with delicious mixed seeds and balsamic dressing. The courgette and roquefort bake was surely a vegetarian's dream and a dieters nightmare; an almost fondue-like, cheesy, gooey delight- perfect for dunking a chunk of bread into. The Galician octopus was melt in the mouth, perfectly spiced and totally satisfying, served traditionally on sliced potatoes. The beef carpaccio was my personal favourite- I'm a sucker for rare beef. A little different from perhaps a standard beef carpaccio, this one had a lovely light mustard vinaigrette drizzled over the wafer thin beef, with lots of hidden surprises around the plate in the form of nuts and seeds, a red cabbage and beetroot slaw, topped with shavings of delicious local La Gomera cheese. The bruschetta was crunchy toasted garlic bread, topped with prosciutto...nothing not to like there really! Each of these dishes (pictured below) was 5 euros- you'd be lucky to get a bread basket or a few olives in London for that price! It really was good value.

Vegetarian dream- courgette and roquefort

Beautifully tender, spiced Galician octopus

Personal favourite- beef carpaccio presented beautifully

Prosciutto garlic bread- pure fatty indulgence!

After our tapas success we felt obliged to try more of the menu, so next up was the Quiche de la mama; a spinach, bacon and emmental quiche, flavoured with nutmeg, and a bacalao pastry which the menu informed us, was inspired by the owners trip to Lisbon. We shared these two dishes between us- both were delicious, though a bit heavier, so we were then ready to move on to our sweet course.

Quiche de la Mama

Bacalao (salt cod) pastry

We had a bit of a laugh about the menu as one of the deserts was translated rather ambiguously as 'chocolate coulant....cocoa purity'. Whilst not entirely sure what that meant, we were certain it sounded right up our street, so went ahead with ordering that and a Torta de Santiago (Santiago tart) with seasonal fruit. The Chocolate coulant, cocoa purity turned out to be a melting middle chocolate fondant, covered in chocolate sauce, which of course was heaven! The Santiago tart was a bit of a mystery to us- the base was a traditional almond-y cake, but it was topped with a mystery fruit (which we think was pear), glazed with a very light, fragrant, possibly herbal glaze.Whatever it was, we polished off the lot, and it was a lovely end to a lovely meal.

'Chocolate coulant...Cocoa purity' as described on the menu

Torta Santiago topped with seasonal fruit

The whole bill came to around 60 euros (for 4 people, with all that food and 2 bottles of wine), which was the best value meal of the year, let alone the holiday! The thing I really loved about this place, was how much it shone through that the chef (who is also the owner too I believe) cared about each plate. Every single dish we had was made fresh, and real attention to detail had been taken to make sure each plate looked beautiful. With the competition in the local area not being huge, I think it was really nice that there was really no need for them to be this good, and yet they still went that extra mile to create a really special meal for each and every diner, which was also incredible value.

If you can't already tell, we left as big 'La Forastera' fans- there's really nothing better than having a great meal, and at the end of it being so pleasantly surprised by the bill. This was by far the best meal of the holiday, and I recommend everyone who visits La Gomera to go and find this place and have a great value, quality lunch or dinner!