Thursday, 4 September 2014

Casa Morán, Benia de Onís

Destination, Benia de Onís. It's 110 km away, according to Google Maps and estimated travel time is 1hr 34m. My estimate is 2 hours.

I don't remember how long we actually took. When we arrived, there was a street market going on, so it was quite busy, meaning parking wasn't easy. In the end, I took the chance and parked in a hotel car park nearby. The hotel was quite beautiful.

Hotel Peña Santa, Benia de Onis, Asturias
Hotel Peña Santa
There wasn't much at the market, not for us, anyway, except for this photo opportunity.

Mercau Astur de Onis, Benia de Onis, Asturias
Mr Rooster was posing for me. Or was it Mrs Hen?
If anyone can confirm whether it's a rooster or a hen, I'd appreciate it. My guess is it's a rooster. But, I'm no farm boy, hehe. I did some research and apparently, it isn't easy to tell! Roosters are supposed to have larger combs (the red crest on their heads), but how big is big? Haha. This one looks big to me! :)

Whatever it is, it didn't follow us to our lunch table, I can assure you. We had come here specially to have lunch at the famed Casa Morán, famous for the owner, Rosa Morán (Doña Rosita), because of her age. Into her 70s or possibly 80s, she still works every day, no doubt, controlling their production of Fabada Asturiana, their other star.

Fabada isn't your typical summer dish. It's more suited to the Asturian winter, but if you're here, you've got to try it.

Frankly speaking, I was rather disappointed.

As we walked in, we faced a bar, and there were several people scattered around. Towards the left was a door, through which we entered. No-one had greeted us at this point. We saw a roomful of people eating, so we reckoned this was the restaurant. The corridor leads to an exterior patio/garden, off which there was another room.

We then saw a guy busying around, so we presumed he was a waiter, and we asked if we could have a table. Yes, no problem. Sit anywhere.

Minutes later, we saw more staff, only identifiable by their walking between tables and/or serving. No doubt, this was a family set up. I have no objections to this; quite the contrary, I do like the informality and the warmness of a family business. As long as service is sufficiently efficient.

There was no menu à la carte, only the day's offering. First course was a choice of paella, salad, or fabada, and the main course was lamb or cod. These photos were taken with a mobile phone.

Fabada Asturiana
Roast lamb with potatoes
As you can see, presentation was simple. And I'll be honest, taste was simple, too. It was obvious all the food had been prepared in the morning, and all they had to do then was to heat it up. But it wasn't even heated up well enough. The fabada tasted as though it had been heated several hours ago, to boiling point, and ours was just scooped directly onto the bowl. And, similarly, the lamb probably came straight out from a warmed oven. Maybe, just maybe, the chips were freshly fried.

Yet another place living off its reputation is my opinion. Perhaps if you're the early luncher type, you may be lucky to get the food still fresh. I can't guarantee that.

Place: Casa Morán
Address: Benia de Onís (Google Maps have it wrongly located, I think. This is probably more correct. In any case, you can't miss it. It's on the main road leading to the town, practically opposite Hotel Peña Santa.)

Service: casual, friendly, could be faster and more professional
Food: Fabada over-hyped, the rest, average. Not hot enough.
Price: Good value.
Verdict: If you're there, fine, you can try it or perhaps the restaurant at the Hotel Peña Santa (see photo above) may be better. Otherwise, it isn't worth travelling all the way just for Casa Morán.