Wednesday, 17 September 2014

O Curro da Parra restaurant, a review

Sunday night. Time, about 10 pm.

I was somewhat disappointed with the type of restaurants we had been eating in the previous few days because I'd been "on strike" and did not partake in the decision process. This time, I didn't give any option, I just led the way.

Google Maps on. Destination: Rúa Travesa 20. Start navigation.

We were staying near the Cathedral (if you've been following my posts, you'd know), and it was a short walk, yet away from the populated centre. As with a lot of restaurants here, O Curro de Parra has a small terrace and a small entrance. The kitchen is on your left as you enter where you'd expect a bar. At the back, there are tables with high stools - a bar-like seating arrangement - and leading to this area, running along one side of the wall, is a narrow counter. The place looks bigger than it is because at the back, there's another entrance, a glass door. This makes it appear as though it led to another section of the restaurant. I only realised that it was an entrance when I saw new customers walking in.

According to Google Translate (mmm, they should really be paying me for the amount of times I mention them! Ironically, I've even been banned from their ads programme, and their ban is lifelong, haha), O Curro da Parra means The Vineyard. A good name for a wine bar-restaurant, but it's actually named after the street on which the other entrance resides.

Upstairs is a more formal affair, with the standard seating arrangement. It isn't very big, perhaps 16 covers or so.

I was impressed by the decoration. Now, I thought to myself, this looks more like it, thinking of all the other restaurants we'd recently been to. When a place is tastefully decorated, it has an identity; and when it has an identity, you'll have some hope that its food has some sort of identity, too.

Any reservation? No? Sorry, we're fully booked.

That aroused my interest even more. I wasn't going to give up that easily. Eyeing the counter down the side, I asked "How about standing? " "Ah, yes, that's possible." After convincing the others, we stayed. They had a large group booked and that was why they couldn't take any more people.

Our order for drinks were taken, but then, we were almost ignored after that. I myself noticed the menu and took it. We hadn't been offered one. A group of 3 ladies walked in and did the same as us. They were willing to stand. Being thoughtful, I passed them our menu. And what happened?

The waiter - probably the head waiter - took the food orders from them first! And, believe me, it took me a full 5 minutes or more later, and that, after frantic hand waving, for him to approach us. And, not an apology. So, for that, they lose some service points. Being busy is not an excuse for "discrimination". 

But, to our surprise, a few minutes after our food orders had been taken, a table became available and we were ushered upstairs. Fortunately for the previously-mentioned waiter, he hadn't given the table to the 3 ladies! Or fireworks would have flown. Upstairs was a more sedate affair. Almost all foreigners. Speaking in hushed tones, smartly-dressed, and at least the service here (from a waitress) couldn't be faulted.

The food. Fabulous. I appreciate home-cooking style, but, as a paying customer, I always expect a little more, and this little more is felt in the effort, in the creativity, in the ingredients... In this aspect, O Curro da Parra didn't disappoint. Everything we had were wonderful: the salad, the prawns, croquettes, skewered pork... Perhaps the pork was a little too dry.

So, yes, definitely recommended. But make a reservation, especially at weekends and in the summer. 

Sorpresa de langostino (Prawn surprise), €8.50
Croquetas, €8
Ensalada de temporada, (Seasonal salad), €6.50
Brochetas de cerdo (Skewered pork), €6.50

Name: O Curro da Parra
Type: tapas, gourmet, fusion
Price: not cheap; budget for €15-20 per person
Location: Rúa Travesa, 20; 15704 Santiago de Compostela
Tel: 981 55 60 59
Verdict: Highly recommended! Reservation is advisable.