(Note: This review is now depreciated, and is only available as a historical note. STOP bar has changed hands since then. It’s still very good though!)
.Twas Maters birthday. A rare occasion. As some say, when you have a birthday, you take a day off – when she takes a birthday, she takes a year off. (Only joking!!)
ANYWAY off we popped to the Vera Hotel. Recently taken over (60%) by the KeyMare group – those responsible for the monstrous apartments of Vera Playa – it´s been upgraded, upmarketed and generally made fit for human consumption. In fact, it´s now almost on a par with my all time favorite Terraza Carmona. Four star hotel, four star food, and two star service. It´s still better than most.
The decor is quite pleasant, with a small and intimate dining room just off the main bar, behind the lobster tanks. If you have a larger party, you can squeeze into one of the private dining rooms, each named after an Andalusian province. If a smaller party, you get a wonderful view of the vast electric pylons and the motorway in the main dining room.
We ordered a number of starters, including pata negra, pan con ajo y tomate, salad, gambas (5E each I should warn you!), Moet e Chandon and sundry others. The main difference between the Vera Hotel and the Carmona is that the VH menu is actually intelligible. I´ve been to the Carmona with university educated Spaniards and even they can´t understand that menu. We´ve complained to Antonio many a time, but he still refuses to change it. Ah well. Back to VH.
Bodge (younger bro) order the Bogavante a la plancha (fried lobster to you). Can´t say I recommend it, but as I write this I have just finished the most fantastic lobster at ´The Old Passage, Arningham, Glos´ (More later). Slightly burnt, not enough butter.
Dad and I shared a fantastic Buey a la piedra. They bring you a hot stone, lots of juicy meat, and you cook it yourself. Damned good. They used to do this at the Carmona, but stopped because the smoke annoyed your neighbors. The same thing will happen here, so get a move on and try it before they remove it.
Mater ordered the Rodabie, local fish, pan fried on the plancha with lemon and vegetables. Lovely. Light, saucy and filling.
We finished off with a wonderful round of puddings, and possibly a little too much Orujo and brandy. A large cigar each (Mater abstained, before the rumours start) completed the evening.
The main event of the evening happened when we ran out of wine – we were drinking a very pleasant 92 Rioja, but sadly they only had two bottles in stock, the third was a 96. After some complaining on Dads part, we got two bottles free, plus the aperitifs! Can´t complain. Mind you, the total bill was still almost 300E, so they didn´t do too badly out of us.
Where is it?
Garrucha – Vera road.