Every time Lusa has been over from the States I have tried to take her to The Tapas Bar in Broughty Ferry but it has either been the wrong night to go, fully booked or unfortunately for us but not so for the owner and the chef, it was closed due to them being on honeymoon. So it was with a sigh of relief we eventually managed to book a table for Saturday lunch time.
When we arrived I realised they had been busy since my last visit as it had changed its name to Sol y Sombra; the downstairs, which used to be an auld man’s pub, now looked like it was a flamenco bar overlooking the Mediterranean and the stairs leading up to the restaurant had lost their dingy carpet and were now colourfully tiled.
We were seated by a smiley Spanish waiter who took our drinks order and returned with some olives and half a coconut shell containing an assortment of nuts. He then asked if we had been before. Lusa admitted she hadn’t and he immediately welcomed her warmly and explained that there was no menu just set dishes but he needed to know if she had any allergies, dietary requirements or anything she didn’t like. Now I know I have been describing Lusa as fussy but her list of things she didn’t like was remarkably short – no mussels, crab or nuts. With a concerned face ‘Manuel’ quickly checked out that Lusa wasn’t allergic to the nuts in front of her. Lusa assured him she wasn’t and he quickly left. However, it wasn’t long before him and his smile returned with a small dish of crisps just for her. He also told us of a special offer they had on that day. For an extra £4 we could have a plate of the best ham in the world that had been cured for 4 years and tasted amazing. Well, of course, we just had to try the best ham in the world. Come on, we’d have been mad not to!
The next time Manuel appeared he had some bread and butter, extra virgin olive oil, teeny bread sticks, red peppers stuffed with cream cheese, the best ham in the world, chorizo, strawberries with balsamic vinegar, homemade aioli, and manchego cheese with prosciutto and grapes (I may have missed out a dish here). He then taught us how to eat the best ham in the world. First of all we had to cleanse our palate by eating one of the teeny bread sticks. We then had to allow the meat to sit in our mouth almost allowing it to melt so that we could get the full taste of it and then we were to chew and get the second taste, which was the flavour of the fat (Manuel maintained it was a healthy fat – is there such a thing?) I have to admit it was full of flavour and I’m glad we tried it but I’m not entirely convinced it was the best in the world but maybe I need to do more research before I contradict Manuel.
The cold tapas selection was great and Lusa and I both loved the stuffed peppers and aioli the best.
We were still making our way through the dishes when Manual added even more plates to the table. Large shelled prawns, which were sitting in garlic oil that was still sizzling, skewers with chicken, chorizo, peppers, mushroom, Spanish black pudding and onions, hake (which had a longer description but I can’t remember it), paella, potatoes with aioli, goats cheese wrapped in courgette, and asparagus with prosciutto. Everything was delicious and Lusa ate it all – I can no longer call her fussy!! (she’s still high maintenance though ;p) Our favourites this time were the prawns and potatoes.
By the end of it all we were as stuffed as the peppers and although we asked what there was for dessert (just in case there was custard) we passed on the homemade cheesecake or sorbets that were on offer and settled for coffee, which incidentally was lovely.
I really can’t praise Sol y Sombra highly enough. I’ve often been to Spain and have tried various tapas but none of them have impressed in the way that Sol y Sombra has. By not giving you a menu it makes you try things that you probably wouldn’t normally order and as you have already told them what you don’t like you can relax in the knowledge that you’re not going to hate anything they bring you.
You really must visit for yourself but make sure you phone in advance as it’s often fully booked up.
2 cokes, 2 x set meal + the best ham in the world, 2 coffees = £41.90.
(Sol y Sombra don’t have a website but click this link for their Tripadvisor page and if you’re looking fr their phone number it is 01382 776 941)