Our two week holiday in a peaceful Spanish cave home in Almeria was the perfect balance to the hectic pace of London. We loved exploring the ‘wild west’ style countryside and on our wanderings we were lucky to find this gem of a restaurant, Cortijo del Cura, on the shores of Lake Negratin. This is a perfect spot to swim, relax and enjoy the stunning scenery; a real find. We ended up coming several times, arriving mid-morning and swimming with the huge and friendly fish in the Lake before retiring for lunch and some welcome shade and respite from the fierce heat.
Writing this back in London it’s hard to remember just how relaxed the pace of life is in this part of the world, particularly for lazy holidaymakers like us. Lunch is served from 1pm, and once you sit down to eat it’s easy to kick back and take a leisurely approach to the meal. With four seating areas, you can choose whatever suits you best: a drink on the terrace, eating with a view of the lake from inside or out, or a table in the cool shade of the bar (although with no view, the bar was empty). We opted to eat outside, however the wind can quickly whip up and you do have to contend with the local insect population. It seemed a fair trade off against the cooling breeze and the stunning scenery.
On the last day of our holiday we opted for the set menu diario, and at €9.70 per person including bread and wine, this was a bargain. The food here is simple and very traditional. We both chose the Gazpacho, refreshingly ice cold and tasty. I prefer mine a little spicier and we’d had a yummy version in the shadow of the Alhambra a few days before so perhaps I had been a little spoiled. It was served with crusty bread and was exactly what we needed in the heat. Other options included the ubiquitous mixed salad, melon and ham and espaguetti.
On to the mains, and I approached my choice with care having seen the plate-sized beef and fish steaks coming out of the kitchen. They don’t skimp on the portion sizes here! I went for the pork escalope and was relieved when it was served as two reasonably sized pieces, accompanied as were all the main courses by a small portion of fries and some assorted vegetables that were more of a garnish than a part of the meal. We didn’t quite understand the vegetables, an odd mix of tinned beans, mushrooms and little bacon thrown in to catch the unwary vegetarian (they don’t really do vegetarianism in Spain). The Almeria province is famous for producing and exporting fruit and veg, but not much of it seems to end of on local plates – at least as far as we could see. A’s fries and vegetable garnish accompanied a chicken fillet that was simply seasoned and grilled. He certainly looked very happy and a clean plate testified to an enjoyable feast.
There was less choice on the pudding front: tinned fruit in syrup (again, why? there are fruit trees as far as the eye can see in this area!), ice cream (a cornetto-style affair) or flan. We went for flan, and it was yummy. This doesn’t bear any resemblance to the British version, with not a crumb of sponge in sight. Instead it’s an egg custard with a caramel sauce topping – widely sold in the supermarkets, this delicate, creamy confection is clearly popular and with good reason.
We could have had wine with the meal, but neither of us are great daytime drinkers and we opted for ice cold water instead. A. followed up with a Café Solo, a straightforward strong black coffee that’s a little bigger than an espresso.
Listen in to our post-lunch chat here:
If you’re in the area then we can’t recommend this spot highly enough, for the wonderful Lake Negratin as well as the restaurant. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
Loo Review (PMC Rating): ★★★☆☆ Clean and basic. As is the norm in Spain, you can’t flush toilet paper and that’s one UK luxury that we were looking forward to on our return home!
Cortijo del Cura, Cruce Freila, s/n, 18812 Freila, Granada, Spain Friday, July 8th 2018