Jaen – La Victoria – Casa Antonio

La Victoria is the neighbourhood on the bottom half of the hill. It takes in most of Paseo de la Estación and Avenida de Madrid. This restaurant is on a side street running parallel between the two.

I like this place so much that it gets a post to itself. It is simply the best place in town…

Casa Antonio (Advanced A), 3 Calle Fermin Palma, Tel. 953 270 262, www.casantonio.es, closed Sunday evening and Monday

I’ve been three times and have posted in chronological order, so most recent visit in 2017 is at the bottom of this post.

This is my review from 2013…

The tasting menu was only €47 for about 12 different plates, not including a couple of little extras not pictured. These were:

Pan, Aciete y Chocolate (bread, oil and chocolate); an unusual combination that works.

Trufas de Perdiz Escabechada, Foie Tartufo (truffles of pickled partridge and foie) and Croqueta de Trufa y Parmesano (truffle and Parmesan croquette), served with root vegetable crisps.

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Ajo Blanco de Coco, Pina, Albahaca (a local cold almond soup, not garlic as you might think, with coconut milk, pineapple and basil).

Yema, Trufa, Patata (a whole poached egg rather than just a yolk and grated white truffle, I think on a bed of potato puree). So delicious.

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Ensalada de Perdiz de Campo y su Escabeche Emulsionado (country partridge salad with a marinade emulsion). In Spain escabeche is a vinegar marinade which I’m not particularly fond of but I didn’t notice it here.

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Morrococo, Cocido Mareao. I know the former is a local chickpea mash sometimes referred to as Jaen hummus! Cocido is a stew but I’m not sure what ‘mareao’ refers to. Either it’s leftover stew that in this case has been mashed into the chickpeas, or it’s the stock from boiling the stew ingredients which is sometimes eaten as a separate soup, as is probably what they’ve done here.

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Papada, Anguila, Mango-Pasion (possible pork jowl with Anguilla eel and mango something).

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El Pez (Segun Lonja) or fish of the day depending on market availability. Not sure what fish it was but it looks like bream or bass.

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Cordero Segureño, Naranja, Cardamomo (local Segureña lamb with orange and cardamom).

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This might be Melon, Ginebra, Manzanilla al Limon (melon, ginger and apple with lemon) as per menu but the photo doesn’t really match the description.

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There was definitely apple in this dessert though.

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Last of all I was given some complimentary chocs at the end and this strange milky digestif which was nice but again I don’t recall what it was exactly.

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All the wines I had here were excellent. I sampled two Ribera del Duero reds (the Matarromera crizanza and a young wine by AC), a Rioja (Bai Gorri 2007) and a local red Marcelino Serrano from the Sierra de la Sur de Jaen IGP.

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With a dessert I also had a glass of Moscatel de Alejandria, an ancient grape.

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An excellent meal at a very reasonable price.

And a couple of other reviews of my first meals at Casa Antonio:

One of the highlights for me is trying their local olive oils. The flavours are unlike any oils I’d tasted before and a couple are luminous green in colour!

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On my first ever visit I started with a small bowl of salmorejo, my favourite cold soup.

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After this I had Espaldilla de Cordero Segureno con Pure de Patata y Ajo Morado (Shoulder of Segureño Lamb with Potato Puree and Purple Garlic).

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And to finish some aged Manchego cheese. It could have done with some membrillo but it was still good.

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On the next occasion, Arroz Negro de Calamares su Alioli (rice made with squid and its ink with an accompanying sauce of emulsified garlic and oil).

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Can’t remember all the wines I tried, but they were very good.

Followed by Cochinillo Lechal en Dos Tiempos, Cebolleta a la Naranja y Cardamomo (twice-cooked (?) suckling piglet with chives, orange and cardamom).

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Not quite sure what this apple and cream creation was called but it was very nice.

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Suffice to say my stomach is always singing when I leave this place!

Chef Pedro Sánchez uses high quality local and international ingredients for innovative presentations. I like to treat myself to the Menú Degustación which includes two appetizers, five entrees, a fish and a meat course and two desserts. The current price is €52, less than €5 a dish, which is great value given what you get.

In 2015 I started with a chilled glass of Oloroso and some fantastic olives (A).

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And I tried a couple of their wonderful local olive oils (A) with the bread.

I followed this with Pan, Aciete y Chocolate (bread, oil and chocolate), a mainstay of the menu (B+).

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I told the owner I wanted to try local wines and he suggested a bottle of Eclo which was very good (B+).

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This was followed by a couple of dishes utilizing I think the famous prawns from nearby Huelva. First prawns with yellow chilli (A).

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And then a red prawn in a broth (B).

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Then Ajo Blanco de Coco, Pina, Albahaca (coconut, pineapple, basil); an innovative take on a classic local soup, another mainstay (A).

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The asparagus in a mayonnaise based sauce with trout roe was very subtle (C).

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The Presa Iberica, smoked pork with a caper sauce, had heaps of flavor (A).

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Then I think some roast suckling pig.

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Then a tasty segment of Butifarra de Pichón (pigeon?) sausage. I love this Catalan sausage, just wish there’d been more of it (B+).

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Melon with sorbet and crystalised basil was a good cleanser but didn’t have much flavor (C).

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On the other hand the delicate bread-pudding like dessert was fantastic (A).

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It went very well with a glass of excellent Malaga Muscat (A).

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Also a complementary flask of very lemony homemade limocello, which was nice but not as strong as the Italian version (B).

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They have quite a collection of Spanish brandies here, about thirty in all, about ten of which I hadn’t tried. I took pot luck and went for the 1885 Gran Reserva Malaga which was fine but not amazing (B).

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As always, I left a very happy bunny.

I came back for my third visit in July 2017…

Senor Antonio introduced me to his new head chef Pedro. I was slightly concerned about the change in personnel but I needn’t have been.

I’d asked for all the trimmings and wines to be as local (Andalucian) as possible, so proceedings began with a degustation of local olive oils (all A).

Particularly unusual was this oil made with Royal, a rare indigenous varietal.

The Menu Degustacion had gone down to €50, which is an absolute steal, and I added on a Maridaje de Vinos for €40. The first drink was a fine Oloroso from Boedegas Juan Pinero (A).

Which went well with Pan, Aciete y Chocolate (bread, oil and chocolate), an old friend from previous visits (A). Not sure about the crisps though.

Then a fino called Inocente from Macharnudo (B).

With a bit of charcuterie from Cazorla, a small town in Jaen province (B+).

Another sherry in an unmarked bottle (B+) was ‘en rama’, that is, not excessively filtered and as close to its raw state in the barrel as possible.

After this a Melon Gazpacho (B).

Then another en rama sherry bearing the famous Tio Pepe name from Gonzalez Byass. Also loved the glass it came in.

I loved the Tartar de Quisquilla de Motril en Erizo del Mar or shrimp (from Motril in Granada province) in a sea urchin broth (A). It was decorated with some samphire by the looks of it.

Then Cigala Perdiz, a crayfish and partridge combo that worked well (A).

After this, an unusual Amontillado from Gonzalez Byass again who can do no wrong it seems (A).

The Almendras con Agua de Tomate, or almonds with ‘tomato water’, acted as a palate cleanser (B).

Following on, an Oloroso (A) called Marques de Poley and unusually made from Pedro Ximenez grapes in the Montilla Moriles DO. All the previous sherries were from Jerez and probably used Palomino grapes.

Then a tiny but very delicious pork concoction arrived…

…on a huge board! (A).

Another PX fino called Electrico came in a great bottle (B).

The Ajo Blanco de Coco y Granizado de Pina y Albahaca, a white almond soup with coconut and a granite of pineapple and basil, is another menu stalwart which I love (A++).

This is spooky number is Chipirones al Fondo aka baby squid in a broth (B+).

The next drink was a Manzanilla called Callejuela (B).

Callos de Bacalao y Chorizo, cod tripe and spicy sausage with new potatoes (B).

Then a fino called Huerta del Carmen (B).

Merluza Volanta de Costa y Espuma de Patata en Salsa Verde, or coastal hake with potato foam and a green salsa, was good after a bit of salting (B).

The Vina Zorzal’ Garnacha Rose had a great nose (B+) and tasted pretty good too (B).

Butifarra de Pichon de Sangre Elaborada en Casa, or homemade Catalan pigeon blood sausage, made a reappearance. It’s unsightly but very tasty (A).

Then another very nice Amontillado called El Tresillo (B+).

After this a big frozen slab of marble with Sorbets de Hierbabuena y Limon, a peppermint and lemon sorbet for further palate cleansing (A).

Then a wonderful Riesling called Kerpen (A).

Then Sandia, Yogurt y Limon, watermelon topped with very light and fluffy beaten yogurt and lemon which I really must learn to make at home (B+).

Finally, a new brandy (for me) called El Tresoro (B), from their extensive collection.

And a couple of chocs.

Although I found the presentation a little strange at times, the flavours were still great. I’m just glad to see they are still on form!

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