L’Estartit Eats – Masala

I’ve mentioned before that we’re ‘wintering’ on the coast in Estartit and part of the fun of discovering a new location is trying local restaurants. Especially those that offer a set lunch menu or ‘menu del dia’.

Being late October invariably means a lot are closed for the season. It still leaves a decent amount that remain open and a cursory walk about town identified them. The set lunches here are priced less on weekdays, ranging from 12€ to 22€. Good value when you get 3 courses, bread and one drink. Weekend visitors can expect to pay a few euros more.

Of course we’ll be keeping an eye on value for money (VFM), as a higher priced menu doesn’t always equate to better quality food.

As big curry fans, Estartit has two to choose from, this time we chose Masala, whose weekday set menu is 11.95€. We appear to be the only customers. As it’s a sunny day we choose an outdoor table under a large canopy.  We’re given what appears to be the usual menu, economically arranged as a jumble of loose leaf plastic wallets. No expense spared there then.

I had to ask for the set lunch menu, another 1 page effort that is a dramatic cut down version of the normal menu. There’s a choice of 4 starters, we chose the onion bhaji and shish kebab. The main course choices were limited to chicken, available in 3 different sauces. I asked for my dansak to be extra spicy.

I tend to find most of the Indian food I’ve eaten here in Spain is still not hot enough for my tastes, even when menus have it as very spicy. I have it on good authority that Catalans even find  a mild sauce like Korma too spicy.

My partner was curious to know if she could have the tandoori mix grill instead, and pay the extra. Not possible was the reply, as the till is programmed a certain way. What happened to keeping the customers happy, and a chance to make a bit extra. 

This could get interesting, a red rag to a bull scenario with flailing arms. I begin to argue the point and notice a dissaproving look on my wife’s face. The mountain, or the till in this case will not be moved, and I dutifully comply. She chose a normal chicken curry.

We added a portion of rice and a garlic nan to share and two beers. The waiter appeared to be on his own, so I guessed he’d be doing the cooking too. Still, we’re in no rush, he was cordial, pleasant and the wait time between starters and mains was fine.

We ordered another beer, could he use the same glasses he asked. Mmm, I suppose so but not what we’re used to. Fresh glasses in any bar or cafe are de rigueur.

Rate the plate. Good effort all round, well spiced and left me wanting a bit more. Top marks for the garlic naan. Portion sizes are always going to be a contentious issue where a set menu is offered.

I take a peek inside before we leave, the stuck-in-the 90’s decor with lime green tablecloths leaves a neutral feeling. There’s a pool table at the back and a slightly tatty kids playground area out front. 

I will return to try the normal priced menu, and to do battle again with the tyrannical till.

VFM score. 8/10. Final bill 2 lunch menus plus 2 extra small beers, 28.30€

 Masala, C/ Eivissa 21, L’Estartit 17258