[Los Cristianos, Tenerife] Abordo

We first came here in 2020, just before the pandemic took hold. It was on the recommendation of a guy on the Tripadvisor forum who seems to know his restaurants. We went and agreed with his view – good atmosphere and very nice food.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t so good on this return visit. The old guys singing traditional Spanish songs have been replaced by a keyboard player trotting out “easy listening” stuff. More than half of the restaurant space was taken up by two very large parties of youngish Spaniards – clearly not enjoying themselves, so probably a work gathering. As for the food, it just wasn’t as enjoyable as last time. Could be a different chef. Could be Covid cutbacks on ingredients.

Spanish croquettes can be things of joy. These weren’t. Good ones would have a tasty béchamel sauce binding together a flavoursome filling, like cod or mushroom, and given a coating to crisp up in the fryer. These were bland, tasting of little and barely perked up by the aioli served with them. It’s pretty hard to mess up Padron peppers and the kitchen had done a good job here – cooked through with the flavour of of olive oil still lingering and a heavy sprinkling of sea salt. And my companion in life found the elusive very hot one. Not come across on of those in tears. And, yes, it’s very hot.

Paella had been lovely last time but was merely OK now. Yes, there’s generosity with clams, fish chicken and rabbit mixed in with the rice. And it was nicely decorated with mussels and a king prawns in their shells. But the big flavour in paella should be in the rice. And it was just lacking. Certainly, there was no flavour that would suggest a good fish s tock had been used to cook the rice. And there was none of the “socarrat” – the crusty bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, which is the really tasty bit of a good version.

We might have had coffee but much of the attention of the staff was now on the two groups on the “works do”., so after trying for some time, to flag someone down, we just got the bill.