NB! This restaurant is closed down and doesn’t exsist anymore.
My baby brother and I had talked for a long time about visiting El Gustazo together. We wanted to do it for months but didn’t carry it into effect until Friday 7 September.
Before I go on, I need to state a disclaimer. My brother knows the owner and I guess that I would probably never have gone here if that wasn’t the case.
The owners are Daniel Egea Olivencia and his father Pedro, and there is a sweet story attached to Daniel’s buy-out and the making of this Spanish restaurant. Daniel’s father dreamed during the ninety nineties of transforming this house’ famous restaurant of Espergærde, Le Port, into his own Spanish place, which never happened. But his son made the dream come true and opened El Gustazo in early 2007.
Situated on the northern coast of Copenhagen the restaurant’s balcony has a beautiful view of the Espergærde harbour and on a clear day even a sight to the Swedish coast. El Gustazo is a family-style place with a warm atmosphere, an attentive service (not only for us). In a way it’s the Spanish counterpart to the Italian La Nave I’ve also described on good food.
Our menu comprised a nice large number of different tapas:
Jamon Iberico y Queso Manchego al plato
Iberian pork butcher’s of ham, sausages and sheep cheese
Cigalas a la Plancha
Stuffed peppers with split cod
Gambas Al Ajillo
Prawns with garlic
Chuletitas de Cordero con Pimientos Rojos asados
Grilled lamb chops with oven cooked pebber
A dessert mixture of chocolate cake on vanilla ice cream and Crema Catalana
I have a love and hate relationship with the prawns in garlic. I love prawns and I love garlic but I really hate that this dish always makes my breath fug and destroy my gustatory sense for hours. But they were good, like the split cod in the peppers with the creamy and mild taste and the dessert, which really was a rude bomb of sweetness from the cream and the ice, and the full and slightly bitter flavour of the very, very rich piece of chocolate cake. The 24 months old manchego cheese and the tender and tasty lamb were great, and the Iberian sausages wonderful and cut in very thin slices just the way I prefer.
But the langoustines were my favourite. I got both a fork and a cracker so I could decipher it into pieces and suck out all the fantastic, sweet and delectable flavours of the juicy shell fish. Lovely.
We had a pre-dinner Cava and got a glass of Sherry with the sausages and they were both nice. A glass of Chardonnay, 2005 Castillo De Monjardin, Navarra D.O. came with the fish and had a nice nose and taste, but after a half hour, the finish was almost completely gone. Short. The red wine to accompany the lamb was a 2001 Muga, Rioja Riserva. It had good tannins that evolved a nice fruit and full taste after some time in the glass.
The food was delicious, fresh, with good taste and just right. I’m not an expert on the traditional Spanish cuisine, but have been to Spain a few times, Barcelona briefly, Malaga, Fuengirola. And Seville, which to this date is the most enthralling Spanish city I’ve ever been too. I love the very special sentiments there, the popping into a bar in the afternoon for a beer and a few patates braves cool inside away from the heat of the burning sun, the sudden sound of church bells from the Giralda, the horse and carriages in the squares, the sensitivity, the emotions and powerful forces expressed by the flamenco dance, the colourfulness of it, pink, yellow, blue, red, black dresses like at the corrida de toros, the bullfighting and the controversy of it, the characteristical and feminine masculinity of the performing, powerful matadors with their funny hats and arched backs when they circulate the red sheet that tickles the bull to fury, the stunning beauty of the Alcázar of Seville with beautiful historic buildings, flowers and fruits, a place I just couldn’t resist going back to a second time during my six days in the town. All these Spanish impressions from my first real meeting with the southern Spanish culture were suddenly very present in my mind, when I sat here eating tapas in chilly and windy Denmark.
El Gustazo made me discover what good food is all about. Good food is food worth coming back for. My goodness this is so simple and I have never though about it this clearly before. My opinion about El Gustazo is that I would love to come back for another Spanish night. Definitely, like with all the other restaurants mentioned on my blog.