THIS flour-less almond and coconut cake was amazing. After I finish this post, I’m going to do some recipe research because I need a cake like this to make my day/week/month/year great. The cake was the final course of a tasting menu at Appetite in Valencia…more on that later in this very post!
Valencia was the next stop on our little holiday back in July. Isn’t she pretty? This area of the city is where we stayed for two nights. I loved Valencia for it’s open, clean and sleek look, if that makes sense. Though we did head down to the beach for our second night (to have some famous Valencian paella), and the coast felt far more tourist-y and we felt like we were in a different place, which we also kind of expected.
The picture above and some below are of The North Station, the city’s main train station.
When we arrived and checked ourselves in, we walked down by the train station and by the bullring, taking in a little of the city before resting after our drive and preparing for dinner.
The view from our hotel room at the Melia Plaza
The Melia Plaza is a gorgeous hotel. Well, our room was anyway – we didn’t spend much time in the lobby or bar/restaurant but they were never too quiet – the terrace seems to be popular with the locals as well as the guests. The hotel was very reasonably priced, incredibly clean and luxurious. The only thing that disappointed me was the space limitations on the roof for sitting in the sun. There’s no pool, only a small jacuzzi like cold bath to cool off in the sun but there are only 2/3 chairs in direct sunlight – the rest are hidden behind the shadow of the gym.
Our room was a hexagon shape – it felt like an old-fashioned suite that I like to pretend Don Draper would be given if he ever ended up here.
Classic 1920s style champagne glasses are always a nice touch. I can’t recommend this hotel enough! If you like a spacious, airy and bright room that you don’t feel like you need to run from as soon as you put your bags down, then this place is for you too.
We unpacked, washed up, raided the mini-bar (cava for me) in fluffy dressing gowns and slippers before dressing for dinner. I was so excited for the evening ahead, as I booked a tasting menu at Appetite, Valencia’s top restaurant at the moment. We seemed to be all about tasting menus on this trip, the first we went for was in Barcelona, at Restaurant Montiel.
Spain has really turned me into a grazer with mostly tapas available in every bar everyday in Salamanca. I like to enjoy lots of different flavours, tastes and textures and prefer to try a bit of everything instead of just sticking with one portion of the same thing. And for that, tasting menus are the greatest!
When we walked into Appetite, the atmosphere was far more relaxed than Montiel. Appetite is more of a bistro, small and intimate but bright and buzzing with just the right amount of noise so you feel totally at ease.
At the back in the kitchen you might see a lady smiling away while busy as a bee. That’s Bonnie, the head chef, who’s concept for the food at Appetite is ‘omakase’ which translates to ‘It’s up to the chef’ in Japanese. As a result, you end up with a surprise menu with fusion flavours and fresh vibrant ingredients.
We were shown to our seats and a very friendly waitress asked if we have any allergies, if we are in any way fussy with food and how we feel about spicy food. Stating that we love everything and certainly aren’t fussy, she was even more friendly!
We spied our favourite Spanish red on the wine list, La Planta, which pleased us even more. So we sat back and soaked in the atmosphere..
…and I couldn’t help but feel a little giddy when I saw the cocktail menu over on the wall near the entrance.
Our first course on the menu was lightly battered sea bass on warm corn tortillas with cucumber and celery dressed in fresh guacamole, sour cream and hot sauce. Delicious!
Next we had dim sum, which was absolutely spectacular. The dumplings were the perfect texture, and the chillis and scallions only added to the flavour. The prawn mince inside was perfectly seasoned and tender with just enough soy sauce to complement the dish.
Next we had samosas. They were delicious too but embarrassingly I can’t describe them more, it was a long time ago! I need to stop being so behind in my posts,
Next up, grilled squid with sesame seeds, chives, cilantro and local tomatoes which were so juicy. This dish was delicious. Tender and slightly rubbery squid, with flavour soaked through to the core.
Mussels and clams with soy beans and ginger. Can’t go wrong there.
Lobster! If you would like lobster including in your tasting menu it’s another €7 each, which is nothing really…you do share the lobster though.
The lobster meat was tender, dressed ginger, soy beans, bamboo, cherry tomatoes, lemongrass and cilantro.
Our final savoury course was duck on a bed of pan fried noodles with shiitake mushrooms and bok choy. The duck was perfectly cooked, very flavoursome and tender. Niall was particularly happy where the lobster and duck were concerned…it’s so nice to see a man rave about food so much, he thoroughly enjoyed it.
The cake is back! It’s so good, it gets a double feature. We finished with this flour-less fancy, complete with mascarpone and berries. It was fantastic. Addictive…perfect! I need to get a similar recipe under my belt.
We finished with coffee and a sneaky lychee martini afterward. The Appetite menu was more relaxed and affordable than Montiel..the bill was about 50 euro cheaper. I actually preferred it as although the dishes were common things that you see on menus in all kinds of different places, they had their very own ‘Appetite’ stamp. Each course was created with the best of ingredients and with the utmost confidence.
When I’m back in Valencia, I’ll be visiting again!
♥ ♥ ♥