Lovely Lugo

I’m not usually fond of coach journeys in Spain but the 3 hour trip from Vigo to Lugo was a very enjoyable one. The untypical June weather (12 degrees temperature, rain showers all the way) only served to emphasise the beautiful green mountain terrain as we sped through tiny villages. Ruined buildings with lichen covered walls are everywhere, accentuating the feeling of gloomy decay but still very picturesque. Shop signs use strange 1950’s fonts and nothing seems to have changed for years. Everyone seems to have their own small vineyard, with a small stone building called a horreo on stilts, for storing grain.

Lugo is a really lovely town, the only one in the world which still has intact Roman walls running right the way round. There is a sandy jogging/walking track on them now, which takes less than 15 or 30 minutes to get round. There are lots of small winding streets with old stone porticos and ancient fountains. The Cathedral is quite nice with its Baroque and Churrigueresque frontage.

The two main streets for tapas bars and restaurants are Rua Nova and Rua de Cruz. Sadly my first reataurant choices Verruga and Campos were closed on the Monday when I arrived, my first of only two nights. Instead I checked out the menus of two more places the nice lady in the hotel had recommended.

A Nos A Terra, the cheapest option, looked very good but was quite busy with tapas eaters, so I went instead to…

Meson de Alberto (Advanced B+), Rua Cruz 4, Tel. 982 228 310 www.mesondealberto.com

I chose this place as it seemed to have lots of local dishes on its all day Menu del Dia. It’s very posh, the kind of place where they scrape the crumbs off your table and don’t allow you to pour your own wine. I’m not usually fond of over the top service but they were friendly and not stiff at all.

After a complimentary amuse bouche of mussels with salsa (B), my starter was Grelos (a local green similar to spinach only found in these parts) con Marisco (centolla, cigales, gambas) and mixed with cream which was unattractive but delicious and a bit too rich (A-). They even provided me with a left-handed fish knife to eat it with, the first time I’ve ever been able to use one!

The plato pricipal was an elephantine veal chop, Chuleton de Ternera Gallega (A), with some slightly dry fries (B-) and a small pile of Pimentos de Padron (B+).

And to drink with it, a half bottle of Regina Vitrum (B), a local red fom the Ribeira Sacra DOC (or Denominacion de Orixe in these parts), from the border between Lugo and Ourense provinces.

Finally, Filloas Gallegas (B+), a local crepe served in this case with vanilla pastry cream and deep-fried (rellenas de crema y fritas) , served with an excellent glass (A+) of a 1981 Solera Pedro Ximenez from Monitilla in the Montilla-Moriles DOC, from the area I had been in a week before (see Puente Genil post).

So, top cuisine all made from locally sourced ingredients, except for the PX. The menu del dia was only €32.40 which was very good value. The next couple of places were even better though.

Verruga (Advanced A), Calle Cruz 12, Tel. 582 229 572 www.verruga.es (closed Sunday, Monday)

Another posh place, the only one mentioned in my 2011 Seleccion del Gourmet and also rated as the best place in town by the receptionist. I came here at lunch time for the €32.40 Lugo Menu del Dia (one of four on offer) as I don’t think I could afford it otherwise, Dishes start at around €15-25 going up to €95 (all 2012 prices) for the Angullas (elvers). The service is friendly though so I had a good experience.

After a complimentary dish of Boquerones with raw garlic and parsley in olive oil (B+)

I had Caldo Gallego, a simple broth (B+) made with pork stock, white beans, chunks of potato and a turninp green called Nabos.

This was followed by Pulpo Estylo Feria (in the fairground style) which was the best I’d eaten this far inland (B+) but a little salty to my taste, as many things are in Galicia it seems.

I wasn’t so keen on the next dish Capricho de Ternera Gallego(C), basically two thin slices of veal sandwiching a slice of cheese, dipped in batter and deep fried, but a little overdone. It reminded me of the equally unattractive Flamequin I’d had in Puente Genil (previous post). But this was the cheap menu del dia option and I’m sure they have much better dishes a la carte.

To drink with the fish I had a small jug of young white Ribeiro (B+) and with the meat, Mencilla red (B+). To finish; Sorbete de Limon (B) with a chupito of great Aguardente de Hierbas (A). Total cost €36. Siesta time…

A Nos A Terra (Intermediate A), Rua Nova 8

After finishing work at 10pm I finally made it to this place. Campos was also open but only had one table in whereas this place was very busy, probably due to the price differences. I didn’t go into the bodega at the back which looked very atmospheric, but instead ate at the bar.

I had the oyster mushrooms in garlic which were fantastic (A) and a half ration of Jamon Bellota which of course is the best (A). With this a glass of local R which was good (B) but the food needed something more full-bodied so I had two glasses of excellent Rioja (A). To finish a glass of chilled Aguardiente Tostado with ice. Total cost a reasonable €26.

Campos, should you want to try it, is at  4 Rua Nova.

One Response to “Lovely Lugo”

  1. Sue Toulson Says:

    I love the food in northern Spain, but tend to aim for the 10 – 15 Euro menu del dia!! I’ve had the veal and cheese deep fried sandwiches, which I have to confess put me rather in mind of Spam fritters ( you’re too young to remember them!!)
    In Leon the best thing I had was a tapas of morcilla – a big dish full of black mush! – and the biggest gin and tonic you ever saw. Definitely an A+++ for gin!!

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