[Los Cristianos, Tenerife, Spain] Ansina

Opened just three weeks ago, Ansina is a great addition to the San Telmo strip and, indeed, to the gastronomy of the area. Their aim is to take traditional Canarian ingredients and present them in a modern and inventive style. On the basis of our meal, they deserve every success

It’s a short menu – something we generally regard as a good thing. Half a dozen starters, a few more main courses, a handful of desserts. The owner is proud of his food and explains the menu in some detail, with photos of how the dishes are plated.

There was bread, of course. A nice seeded roll, served warm, with two butters – one flavoured with dill, the other with fig. And there’s a amuse bouche – a deep fried cube of potato, hollowed out slightly, with the cavity filled with red mojo sauce. For one of us, that was followed by deep fried squid strips with a mint alioli, You might have thought that mint wasn’t going to work with seafood, but it did. The other plate featured chunks of skinned tomato, watercress and goat’s cheese (most likely from La Gomera which produces a lot of the cheese). Surrounding the plate was a drizzle of passion fruit juice and pulp which, when mixed with oil and vinegar to dress the salad, worked really well.

Cod stew was such a large portion that it couldn’t be finished. A big chunk of delicious fish, falling into just cooked flakes at the touch of a fork. It’s in a tomato & paprika broth with a couple of mussels and a couple of prawns. The prawn heads were also there, as garnish, or to be sucked as the Spanish would do, if you had the bottle. It’s really good but, for perfect balance, it could have done with less cod and the addition of some potatoes and, say, green beans, in there.

The owner told us that the old breed of Canarian black pig has been brought back form the point of extinction by its growing use in restaurants. Here it had been turned into meatballs and then given a crisp, slightly sweet coating from a tempura batter made using the local Gofio flour (which Google tells me is made from roasted wheat). They were absolutely delicious. One of the nicest things I’ve put in my mouth in recent months. They sat on mashed potato and the plate was decorated with carrot batons and a lovely sauce, again slightly sweet, but nothing detracted from the flavour of the meat.

We often pass on dessert but this was somewhere we just had to give them a try. One was another “stand out”. It had started out with the making of a really well flavoured thick rice pudding. This had then been used to fill small pasties (Gofio flour again, I think), baked and served warm. There was also a cinnamon an ginger ice cream which was lovely, although the presence of both spices, was very muted.

The other dessert was less of a success. There was supposed to be banana and toffee – presumably the ice cream – but the flavours couldn’t be detected. That may be because they were overwhelmed by the sharpness of a goat milk yoghurt foam which covered the whole thing. I could see what they were getting at but, hopefully, this is still “work in progress”.

Hospitality is a ruthless industry and if folk don’t come to the restaurant it obviously won’t last. That would be a real shame. This is somewhere trying to be different to the identikit steak & chips tourist places. We hope they’re still there when we come back to Tenerife next year.