ConTenedor – Slow Food Restaurant Seville After 36 hours, two planes, two trains and one hair-raising taxi ride through extremely narrow cobbled streets, Miss A and I arrived at Hotel Fernando III in Seville. We had three nights here before heading to Annie Bs Spanish Kitchen in Vejer De La Frontera and were under strict instructions from Annie B to make sure we booked dinner at ConTenedor which is her favourite Seville restaurant. So this was our first task. The dining doesn’t start till 9 pm so we grabbed the opening booking for the next night and then booked a flamenco show for 7.30 pm, to distract us from hunger pangs and keep us awake! On the night, we popped on pretty dresses and heels and hobbled along the cobbles to the flamenco show which was quite amazing. The theatre was small and intimate and the proximity to the performers enhanced the intensity of the whole experience. With rumbling bellies we found a taxi to deliver us to our destination. We pulled up outside a bright and funky joint which stands out amongst the tiled and dark traditional establishments.
ConTenedor (which translates to ‘with fork’) runs it’s byline as a slow food restaurant and they certainly operate under the principles of local, seasonal sustainable. The menu is limited to 15 dishes which changes according to season and availability. The waitress was warm and friendly and brought us the menu blackboard which she propped on a chair and then tried to translate into English for us. We understood some of it and thought we had nailed it. We found Chardonnay on the wine list so we were very happy.
We shared three generous dishes and were totally stuffed. We started with a roasted pear salad with lettuce, chicory leaves and roasted red onions in a sweet yoghurt and tahini dressing…it was divine! I have never thought to roast pears for salad but am inspired by this dish.
We decided on their signature dish of a crispy duck and rice ensemble with a smooth creamy mushroom sauce. I loved this dish but Miss A was not so keen on the rice component and while the leg was crispy the breast was a tad chewy.
And finally we were delivered a seared iberian pork shoulder fillet served with roasted loquats and vegetables with the mushroom sauce again. We had thought this was going to be a slow cooked piece of shoulder, so were surprised when it turned up and for pork, was quite rare.
As kids we had a loquat tree at our family home and the flesh deteriorates immediately upon plucking so this was quite an unusual ingredient which I have never been served before. As this was only our second night in Spain, we were still a bit shocked by the lack of attention to service. Nobody checked if our meals were ok, if we wanted more drinks or even dessert. And they never, ever offer you water; you must ask for it and you will pay for it.
ConTenedor is more than a restaurant, it seems to be a bit of a hub for hipsters and creative folk, with the musicians arriving to play as we finished eating. I asked the host about Slow Food as I couldn’t spot the snail or any reference to it apart from the restaurant byline. I think I understood him to say (or mean) that they follow the principles but they didn’t seem to be connected to the movement. It is certainly worth a visit and now after eating in Spain for almost five weeks, we are used to the bizarre approach to service and I still have happy ConTenedor memories, particularly of the crispy duck offset by creamy mushroom sauce. Yum!
From a great product, we selected carefully on the market or our suppliers, is the first step to a plate full of nuances and flavors. The following is working on these products and find some connection between them that make sense to a plate. Once developed the plate, had it`s elaboration, runs at t…