3 Nov, 2006 @ 06:49
2 mins read

Eating out – Horses for courses

THREE years ago the Alqueria de Los Lentos
was one of the first restaurants I visited in the
Lecrin Valley. The
food that day was OK but nothing special. It was typical of so much of the fare
on offer in the region – the bland leading the bland.

When friends Cliff and Liz wanted to take
me back there recently I went with no expectation of enjoying the food. I am
pleased to report that things had moved on in the intervening years.  We all enjoyed a splendid supper.

Los Lentos has become a very popular place
for both dining and for overnight accommodation. The converted mill is located
just outside the
village of Nigüelas.

It also attracts those who like to ride
horses through the distinctive local scenery. The owners can offer guided
horseback tours of the area. Indeed days earlier, Liz had experienced an
exciting excursion cross country. Unfortunately, through no fault of the horse,
Liz parted company with the animal before reaching the intended destination! 

It adds a whole new meaning to the phrase "being
taken for a ride" – a sentiment sometimes overheard when eavesdropping on
fellow diners at less distinguished restaurants in Andalucia.

On the night we visited, Los Lentos was
busy with its usual collection of visiting British tourists and local

Service was efficient considering it
appeared to consist of just one waiter who had many diners to keep happy.

We began with a mixture of starters
including cheese, serrano ham, and a salad that was more imaginative than many.

Cliff played safe with his regular dish of
conejo (rabbit). This is an offering that has become increasingly popular with
tourists who had previously been a little squeamish when faced with eating "Bright
Eyes.". I blame Art Garfunkel myself!

I joined Liz in sampling some very nice
lamb while Nola was equally complimentary about her dish of tender pork.

For a country that produces such fine wines
from regions such as La Rioja and Penedes, it often puzzles me why the choice
in restaurants can be so limited.

At Los Lentos my friend Cliff, who was
picking up the bill, bought a bottle of the ubiquitous, but very ordinary, Barbadillo. So often served as the house wine in local
restaurants, it hails from Sanlúcar de Barrameda in the
Jerez area. It is
one of those wines whose bottle price is marked up to a level that far exceeds
its quality. 

I have no complaints about the food at Los
Lentos. I just hope that unlike some other restaurants in the area it can also
offer consistency of standard.

I will not know for sure until my next
visit. That will likely be next spring as this is a location that, despite
facing on to an increasingly busy road, is at its most pleasant on warm
evenings. The inside of the restaurant is overdue a lick of paint and would
benefit from less clutter.

Los Lentos has little serious competition
to speak of in Nigüelas.

Only when it does will we know if it can
improve even further. VG

The restaurant is open from 1pm-4pm and 8pmmidnight every day apart from Mondays.

Staff Reporter

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