El Faro del Puerto 

On a recent trip down to El Puerto de Santa Maria we had dinner at El Faro del Puerto and I felt I had to post something. We went for the wine list and tried a lot of cracking stuff. Although Jaime, the sommelier, wasn’t around, the list was excellent and the private stash of Don Fernando (part of it and the owner in the pic above) was even better: in turns outstanding and outstandingly eclectic.

I did of course neglect to take many photos but from memory there were four pages of sherries, including some really interesting bottles. Not counting aperitifs we had some finos del puerto, including the Gutierrez Colosia Fino en Rama, the Lustau Fino del Puerto and the Pavon (all excellent) then some amontillados – the Equipo Navazos 31 (from Sanlucar), el Tresillo, the Fernando de Castilla Antique and a Gutierrez Colosia (which turned out to be the people’s choice – having ordered a glass we finished the bottle – of course I took no photo) and with the fish we had a bottle of the Equipo Navazos Florpower 57 that really showed superbly. Best of all, however, was a bottle that Fernando produced at the end (as he showed us around his bodega)- an Osborne Solera BC 200 that was just sublime – on many measures the wine of a high quality weekend.

And although we may have chosen the restaurant based on the winelist you could certainly be forgiven for going for the solid matter alone – the food was absolutely great. Not one of the dishes was less than excellent: from memory there was a tasty toast of anchovy and boquerone (er, anchovy again), a brilliant fragrant salad of pigeon and mushrooms, some tiny squid and artichokes, grilled salmonetes that were perfect (when the skin has that king prawn umami) and presa iberica in oloroso that was just soft, full flavoured and juicy. There was also some dessert but that is not really my bag.

A really excellent dinner all round, highly recommended to anyone travelling to el Puerto, and a massive thanks to our host, Don Fernando, a true gentleman and entertaining bloke who was happy to show us around his cellar and, more importantly, share it!

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