★ Restaurante Villena, Segovia

Woke up early to start our day trip to Segovia from Madrid. After a 1.5 hours coach ride, we arrived at the scenic town to be greeted by the iconic aquaduct structure. We had the whole morning to spare to explore the various sights as we planned to have lunch at the one-Michelin star Restaurante Villena.

Having read that the place starts its service at 1.30pm, we decided to recce the place when we passed by Plaza Mayor. There was a notice on the door informing diners that they had shifted to Plaza Capuchinos, which is a 2 minutes walk from Plaza Mayor.  They are in an extension building right next to the Hotel Eurostars Convento Capuchinos.

We were pleasantly surprised to be greeted by Chef Rubén Arnanz personally at the entrance. When he learnt that we are visitors from Singapore, he enthusiastically shared that he had just visited Singapore last August. He still remembered the street food in Singapore such as chicken rice, chilli crab as well as one of the top fine-dining restaurants in Singapore – Restaurant Andre.

After browsing through the set menus at the restaurant, we didn’t see the 1 dish that Segovia is known for – suckling pig. Chef told us that if we have the menu “A walk in our environment“, he could change the main to suckling pig for us. We certainly can’t leave Segovia without trying the dish that propelled Segovia into foodie’s food map. As the menu includes 3 wine selection paired by the sommelier, its the first time I got to try a few Spanish wines during this trip.

The vaulted high ceiling dining hall was spacious and the white painted walls made the place looked simple yet elegant.

Villena_01

The 11-course menu started with an array of Snacks, total of 6 to be exact. The menu didn’t list down all the items so I shan’t try to ID them individually. Though I was impressed by the juicy pickled tomato, the cheese and the fresh salmon.

For the first part of our meal, we were served with Verdejo wine from Rueda region, which was crisp and fruity. Perhaps I’m being a bit of a country bumpkin, I was kinda surprised when the staff top-up my wine when it was half-finished. Hmm… seems like the wine is free-flow? Anyway I’m more than happy that we could have all that we could drink.

First item from the menu was the colourful Liquid salad which was like a foamy gazpacho, light and airy yet refreshing.Villena_02

White thistle.black truffle was next. Followed by Leek flame. The charred leek dish is something which I was more familiar with – having eaten it at other restaurants before. Chef came out for table-side service and showed us the soot-covered black leek before dissecting it to reveal the white leaf sheaths within. I’ve always been a leek lover so this dish was simply divine.

Villena_03

The daily fish dish include the juicy carabinero prawn head topped with caviar and a fish steamed in parchment pouch. Luv the seafood in Portugal/Spain as they are all really fresh.

Before we start our red meat dishes, we were served the next wine selection which were red wines from Rioja region. I generally liked the wines from Rioja region due to the aging in oak barrels.

Marinated wild pig. juice trotters. fried egg was served in a stone bowl, covered with a pretty crispy thin wafer. Almost too pretty for me to destroy it, but we were told to break up the wafer on top and mix it with the ingredients below before eating. After stirring them together, the meat gets a coating of the semi-flowy egg. It reminds me of Japanese wagyu don with onsen egg except this dish was served with pork.

Villena_04

The long-anticipated famous Segovia delicacy – Suckling pig was finally presented to us. Although in this restaurant, they don’t use a plate to cut the pig, we could testify that the meat served here is ridiculously tender! The roasted skin is crispy but the pale (almost white) meat from suckling pig is moist and soft. There seems to be a layer of gelatinous fats between the skin and the lean meat.

Last protein dish was Roasted pigeon in clay. corn textures, the clay-baked pigeon was smashed opened at the table-side and plated immediately. Chef shared that he served pigeon with corn as corn is what pigeons eat.  There were even “foot-prints” of the fowl on the plate. Somehow I have this image that the pigeon was captured while eating the corns on the plate!

Ending our meal with Chicory ice cream. whisky DYC. pine nuts and Magic pumpkin. Both are desserts which are really unique to me as I’ve not had desserts made with ingredients such as chicory and pumpkin. I particularly enjoyed the chicory ice cream with whisky dessert as the flavours complement each other perfectly.

Villena_05

Ordered a cafe con leche to go with the Floron (fried rosette).  I read that the fried rosette originated from Scandinavian region; made using a decorative iron mold which was dipped into a thin batter then lowered into hot oil, resulting in the crisp and beautiful cookie.

The meal at Restaurante Villena was a wonderful way to end our short but fulfiling trip to Segovia. The overall dining experience was intimate and engaging as there were several dishes served at the table-side by Chef. Chef Ruben made us felt very welcomed and comfortable as he was the first Spaniard whom we held the longest conversation with in English! When we first arrived in Madrid, we felt “handicapped” that we couldn’t speak Spanish as most of the Madrilenos are either non-English speaking or seemed to lack confidence in speaking English – even at the touristy eateries. But they will flash a big smile whenever I used the magic phrase “Me gusta” (English means: I like it) to show my appreciation of the nice dishes I’ve eaten.

Admittedly I enjoyed myself more in charming Segovia than Madrid. Just look at the number of photos I took in the ancient city!

Other Photos taken:

Segovia_01

Iconic Aquaduct in Segovia.

Segovia_02

Segovia is a relatively small town, although most sights are within walking distance it usually involves walking up-slopes.

Segovia_03

Casa de los Picos House which has its facade covered entirely by granite blocks carved into pyramid-shaped reliefs. I wondered if the architect who designed Esplande in Singapore got his inspiration from this house?

Segovia_04

Segovia Cathedral Gothic-style, Roman Catholic cathedral, has hallways which somewhat reminded me of scenes from Harry Potter movie?

Segovia_05

Segovia city walls which begin and end at the Alcazar and stretch to a length of 3km.

Segovia_08

Sakura blossoms(?) in The Poet’s Garden next to Alcazar.

Segovia_06

After walking pass the Santiago Gate, we took a small trail next to the river in search of a good photospot of the Alcazar. It is easier to reach the photospot if you are driving cos it’s just by the roadside and even has a parking bay.

Segovia_07

This seems to the be same angle which was often used to cite the Alcazar as being inspiration to one of Disney Princesses’ castle.

Other Related Posts:

Advertisements
This entry was posted in ★ Michelin Star Restaurant, Degustation Menu, Restaurant, Spain and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s