Something cold and wet was pressed against my neck, and someone was holding my hand.
For the love of god, not again. I thought to myself as a i came back around. It was the third time this holiday i fainted, but the first time it had unfortunately taken place in the middle of a restaurant. It was about 37 C in Mojacar, Spain at the minute, and the Arlequino lacked any form of breeze or air-con. The restaurant has a very hippy, boho feel to it, and while the food we had there was of average quality by Spanish standards, the friendly staff and welcoming atmosphere had made up for everything. The cold pressure against my neck was a towel full of ice being held in place by the manager, and the embarrassingly attractive waiter was holding my hand to check my pulse. They’re always attractive when i manage to make a fool of myself, meanwhile my companion was looking over with worried eyes while he tried to instruct the Taxi driver over the phone how to get to the restaurant. Not gonna happen. Located in one of the sloping, back streets leading off the centre of Mojacar Pueblo, Arlequino is slightly off the beaten track, and while difficult to get to, if your looking for some simple, barbecue food and a quiet, cosy atmosphere, this is the place for you.
That’s one thing you will experience everywhere in Mojacar. Staff are exceptional, everything is done in a calm, efficient manner. There’s an attitude out here to never rush, its a welcome change of pace from the quick in and out attitude you don’t realise populate many restaurants in UK. Pura Vida is a fairly trendy, posh restaurant located in the commercial centre of Mojacar Playa. It’s one of my favourite places to go by myself. There isn’t that vaguely threatening, uncomfortable feeling that you often get as a young female alone in UK, and you’re never rushed, staff are happy for you to sit for as long as you want, as i had done alone the other day to write out my last blog post, with the company of an excellent breakfast sandwhich and home made smoothie to start the day. Else where in restaurant, groups of women enjoying booze brunches are interlaced with the occasional other lone breakfaster.
There’s quote by Laurie Lee in a book I read once about Almunecar, another Spanish town i freqeuent, which says nobody eats without drinking, or drinks without eating, as it would be uncivilised to do so. It sums up the area nicely. As is true for most of Spain, food and drink are there to be enjoyed, to be cherished and tasted, and no appreciation is lost under the illusion that these things are no more than necessities.
There are two restaurants i cant go through this post without mentioning, both very different to the other in style. First of all, the Imperial Pizzeria. While i am in Spain, and do adore Spanish food, its impossible for my to go two weeks with out indulging in some really good Italian dishes. And while my health kick is meant to be reducing my intake of high carb foods, there was no way i could resist the tempting menu of the Italian restaurant on the beach i had been sunbathing outside of. I’m glad i did too, I’ve always been a sucker for a good carbonara, so the imperials own take of it with the added bonus of truffles was an easy pick for me.
It was mind blowing. To call this pasta a carbonara is an insult to it, beacuase it was so much above and beyond any carbonara i have had, and I’ve had a lot. The depth of flavour in the sauce from the truffles was so intense i was tempted to lick my plate clean at the end to savour every last drop of it. The sauce was perfected in that way only good Italian chefs know how to do, with it being thick and creamy, but without the addition of any cream. And the generous amount of pancetta mixed in had been perfectly cooked to a delicate crisp. It was the kind of dish you would be happy to be your last, to die with the taste of this pasta in my mouth would be an absolute pleasure.
The final restaurant I’ll mention today is up in the Pueblo. I was first drawn to Casa Minguito because it was just so picturesque. The actual building runs perpendicular to the town hall, its a beautiful, traditional Spanish building with white washed walls and original wooden shutters. While the inside of the restaurant is suitably lovely, everybody prefers to sit outside instead. This is because the whole courtyard is sheltered under the arms of a massive tree which provides shade and comfort from the hot sun. As you can probably guess, the food here is delightful. Today i enjoyed perfectly cooked piece of swordfish which satisfied my cravings nicely. The one let down of this place had to be the albondigas. I am a big fan of Spanish meatballs, but these did not come up to scratch. They’re in dire need of breadcrumbs or something like that to add in some moisture and prevent that tough as nails texture these sadly suffer from. Nevertheless, every time i visit this town, this restaurant will continue to shoulder some of the blame for my inevitable gain in weight through out the holiday, I’ve tried diets and healthy eating, but i will always be to much of a food lover to ever persist, why would you when you have complementary bread and aioli at the start of each meal?