This is a relatively new opening in the premises previously occupied for ages by Fresquera. The new owners have spent some serious money – ripping everything out to create a bright, modern space, with an open kitchen.
There’s no menu outside, so we’d gone without really knowing what to expect except, earlier in the week, we’d a very quick glimpse of the menu, in French, on one of the vacant outside tables. That had told us to expect a limited choice – perhaps seven or so starters, a few more main courses, maybe five desserts. We like short menus – it usually means the kitchen can concentrate on doing things really well. But we were going with no real idea about what food might actually be on offer.
You get the impression that foreign tourists are not their intended main customer base and you are likely to generally addressed in Spanish. The menu, however, is available in English (although having Google Translate was helpful to check a couple of items). The cuisine is probably best described as “Modern Spansih” and there are a number of Basque influences here (Google Translate first telling us the restaurant name means “sweet” in Basque). As you might expect at this level of restaurant, there was a freebie to start. A tiny bowl of salmorejo – the cold soup from Cordoba which uses tomato, bread and garlic. It was outstanding!
My starter was a mackerel and potato salad, bound together with mayo, between two crisp pastry “biscuits”, to make a sort of sandwich, stood on edge. The server explained, in Spanish, that I should flip it on to its side and break up the biscuit to mix it in. To make sure I’d understood, he concluded in English, “smash it”. So I did. It was nice, if a little underseasoned.
The other starter was a special and was as light , fresh and simple as it comes. A bowl of prawns, still in their shell, simply roasted in olive oil and salt. They just needed peeling and scoffing.
The Spanish seem to have a number of words to describe beef and we’re never quite sure how to translate them into British food terms. But “fillet of old cow” sounded as though it was going to be tasty. And it was. Classically, it comes with good, if underseasoned, chips. And a selection of baby vegetables – think carrots half the size of your little finger.
Red tuna was lovely in itself – at the peak of freshness and just seared so it was mainly raw, in the modern fashion. But the whole plate was something of a disappointment. There were three or four Canarian potatoes. And the advertised Basque cream sauce, was nothing more than a squiggle round the edge of the plate – not enough to moisten the fish or, indeed, to give it any complementary flavour. The sort of plate that leaves you wondering if you need to get a bag of chips on the way home.
I ordered cheesecake for dessert. The server said it would be fantastic and not really like a cheesecake. He was right on both counts. There was a crisp base but that was topped with a mousse made from a Basque sheeps cheese. That held a liquid custard, which spilled out as you dug into it, and the whole thing was dotted with dabs of set custard. This was one of the nicest things I’ve put in my mouth for weeks – and it’s very rare that I’ll say that about a dessert. The other dessert was a work of cleverness and fun. An ice cream cone, held a very citrussy yuzu gel, popping candy and whipped cream. Like the first one, this was not overly sweet and all the better for it.
Goxoa is an excellent addition to what’s become quite a foody area in El Camison.