On Tuesday evening Alicia returned home, full of praise for La Flauta, where she’d been for lunch with a friend. As the restaurant is nearby, I thought I’d go and check it out.
After a beautifully sunny dawn, the heavens opened up and it rained cats and dogs. I checked the weather forecast and it said the rain would stop by 2pm. Miraculously, it did!
So I walked up Carrer d’Aribau in sunshine and found a rain streaked, but promising menu (slightly askew) outside the restaurant. I did try straightening it, but it wouldn’t budge and I didn’t want it to fall off the wall!
At the entrance to La Flauta, there was a huge queue, stretching from the pavement,
all along the bar,
past the fish counter
and into the dinning area. It’s no longer summer (though still quite warm), but with the all the rain, locals wanted to sit indoors.
A few tables were taken outside, but there were a couple of vacant ones, so I caught the eye of a waiter and he told me to take my pick. I was delighted, the interior queue lasted until about 3.30! I asked for a vermut de la casa and the waiter brought out a bottle of Fot-Li and poured it into a glass of ice and sliced lemon. This is an excellent vermut from Reus, with a beautiful old school bottle.
I sipped my drink and studied the Menú del Día – slightly more expensive than normal at €14.95, but this is classy restaurant.
I ordered calabacin relleno de pescado al graten as my starter – a courgette stuffed with salmon and prawns, baked with cheese and breadcrumbs on top, sitting in a prawn sauce. This was absolutely delicious!
Even the bread here is special and essential to mop up the fish sauce.
As usual, I asked for vi rosat – this one, Cal Vicentó, is made with Tempranillo grapes – Garnacha is more common, though other black grapes are often used. I’d expected a single glass of wine here, but no, the waiter left the bottle – when that happens, one knows that the meal includes half a bottle of wine per person!
As I sat enjoying my lunch, the rain started all over again! The sky looked bright (down towards the sea), so I expected a shower – instead it continued until about 4pm! My poor waiter took it all in his stride, bobbing in and out with a tray over his head!
I immediately ordered allioli to go with the paella, but this was one of the few times that it wasn’t necessary – the paella was perfect, just with a squeeze of lemon!
My pudding was a crema catalana – one of my favourites. This one was possibly the best one I’ve ever eaten – perfectly crunchy on top and soft and creamy inside.
I was in no great rush to leave, as it was still looking quite wet. I ordered a carajillo with coñac for courage and a kick to wake me up after the delicious lunch.
…and finally the rain did stop as I ordered the bill! I didn’t pay the price (€21.65) much attention, I wasn’t wearing my reading glasses and expected to pay slightly more than usual. So I paid and then the waiter brought me change and a correction – there was an unordered coffee added by mistake. I was very impressed by the honesty and on reflection the vermut and carajillo were cheaper here than many of the lunchtime restaurants that I usually frequent. So, in spite of a €14.95 Menú del Día, the price including extras was only about €2 more than I’d expect to pay elsewhere!