We’re on a mission, at least while we’re here until next June, to slowly discover what the remaining open eateries here have to offer. A good many have shut up shop until the tourists return next summer. Have we been left with the dregs?
Perhaps I’m being a tad harsh, I’m sure that’s not the case as every sunny weekend or national holiday brings in extra clients eager to eat and drink. I quickly notice a fair amount of French visitors from the conversations I hear as I walk around.
I’m slightly curious as to why they venture down here, and I’m aware the border is less than an hour away. I’ve always thought the French med coastline has a plentiful supply of pretty looking resorts. Maybe their euros go a lot further here, especially when eating out.
I’m trying to keep the criteria to only lunch menus as they’re keenly priced and we love finding good food at good prices. Of course one line of enquiry is trawling the online restaurant review sites to check on what is good or bad. One bad review is often followed by a good review, where does that leave you?
Still, there’s no better way than first hand experience to fill in the blanks, and taking onboard other users comments is part of the picture.
Just to clarify matters, we’re not just after the tastiest, cheapest food available. We’ve been here long enough to recognise that the price versus quality ratio is a fine balance. Get it right and you’re on to a winner. Word of mouth, they say, is the best form of advertising.
Next on our haphazard hit list is a bar/restaurant called Irreverent, situated on the long straight road that links Estartit with Torroella de Montgrí. Word has it that it’s under new ownership and even the Google reviews section gives it a hefty 4.8.
I went the day before to book a table for 4 just in case there’s a rush. I needn’t have worried, the one solitary diner had the place to herself. Oh, and they accept dogs inside, a big bonus for us.
From the outside it looks ordinary enough, I’m thinking of those transport cafes in the UK that used to hug the ‘A’ roads, popular hangouts for motorbike riders.
Still, don’t judge a book by its cover they say. The interior space is a mix of exposed beamed ceilings and warm yellow coloured walls. I look around in vain for the usual wall-tv in a corner blaring out the latest celeb gossip.
Our large, solid looking, tiled-topped table was roomy enough, and we were offered menus in the usual 3 languages. Sometimes the short and sweet workman-like translation into English doesn’t quite do it justice.
The weekday lunch menu is 13.50€, with bread and a drink included.
I chose a lentil based dish for starters, others had mussels in a garlic sauce and battered brie in a pineapple and ginger sauce. It’s nice to see a bit of originality, a lot of places seem to adhere to a universal format. Salad, pasta or soup starters and ‘a la brasa’(grilled) meat offerings like pork, chicken or beef.
Thursday is traditionally paella day, which I chose, a bit like fish and chips on Fridays in the UK. Not bad, not over seasoned with a token gesture to seafood being a single prawn. Friends had the rabbit stew, and the sea-bass, both well received.
As an aside I remarked on the colourful Mexican themed plates, not something I usually notice. Eager to please they even provided a floor blanket for the dogs, with the water bowl being by the outdoor terrace.
Back to the dessert choices which included mango sorbet, caramelised orange with Cointreau and the inevitably predictable crema catalana. I went for the ‘pera al vino’, a baked pear in red wine.
At weekends they only offer an a la carte menu, plus tapas and music on Friday and Saturday nights. Closed Wednesdays.
Verdict. Given its name it’s far from disdainful. A bit of ‘a diamond in the rough’.
VFM (value for money) 9/10