My wife and I popped into the Café Andaluz in Glasgow for a meal using a 5pm voucher. It was just after two in the afternoon on a Wednesday and the place was busy. My wife and I managed to get a window table and we sat back to peruse the menu. We have been to the Café Andaluz a number of times in the past and no doubt we’ll be going back again soon.
I am usually spoilt for choice and take a while to make up my mind, but my wife usually knows what she wants and sticks to her favourites. The voucher was for 5 tapas and 2 desserts, so we usually order an additional tapa from the a la carte. There was no way my wife was settling for only two with me getting three, even although we tend to share them.
We first of all ordered a basket of bread with some Spanish olives and a bottle of Cal y Canto Tempranillo wine, which is fairly strong but great for the variety of tapas we were out ordering. Surprisingly, my wife was hesitating over her order and so I immediately went for the cod fillet pieces (pescado adobado) with paprika and cumin which simply melted in the mouth, and which was a sizeable portion in itself. I then asked for a tapa of albondigas (spiced lamb meatballs in a spicy tomato sauce) and finally ordered a tapa of seared King scallops with crisp serrano ham (vieiras con Serrano) which I ordered from the a la carte.
My wife predictably went for the chorizo al vino which is sliced chorizo sausage sautéed in red wine, which is a bit spicy for me but which again was a real plateful. She then ordered paella Valenciana which is a mixture of rice, chicken, pork, shellfish and flavoured with saffron and which is one of her favourites. She finally went for grilled goats cheese with Seville orange (queso de cabra del horno) which we’ve had before and is absolutely delicious.
As usual we shared all six tapas which was great fun and by the end we had to ask the waitress to hold the desserts until we were ready. As we sat nursing the last few drops of the wine we had a chance to peruse the surroundings and I must admit the general ambience of the Café Andaluz is one of the reasons why we always go back there. You get the impression you are somewhere in Seville or Malaga, having a late lunch before going for a long walk through the old parts of town. I keep promising myself to sign up to one of those language websites like ‘News in Slow Spanish’ to improve my proficiency. I really need to make a special effort to getting past the few sentences which I learned at school and which I know off by heart.
Well the reverie was soon over and the friendly young Spanish waitress was back and taking our order for desserts. Well, for me there was no hesitation. I could never leave the Café Andaluz without sinking my spoon into my caramel cheese cake. (pastel de queso y caramelo) which is almost addictive. My wife was keen to try the Raspberry Pavlova (Pavlova de frambuesa) and she wasn’t disappointed. I knew she wasn’t disappointed by how quickly she finished it!
So it was time to go and say farewell to the Café Andaluz. Thankfully the restaurant is right in the middle of Glasgow city centre which is handy for every kind of transport. No doubt we will be back soon enough and with a few waves to the friendly staff we were off.
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Ian Hanley - 23/02/2015