Starcat 1 by my favourite artist

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Tony's Inn

Or La Posada de Antonio.

Early morning in La Posada
 de Antonio.
Occasionally we are fortunate enough to find a true jewel among the daily dross we all have to wade through. And La Posada de Antonio is a true gem. This recently-opened bar near where I live is a return to proper Spanish hostelry. It purveys reasonably-priced high-quality food that hearkens back to how all bars where until about 10 years ago. Also, like the traditional barrio, or neighbourhood bar, it is a long, narrow affair where clients soon become rather familiar with each other at peak times.

In recent years the food in many Spanish bars has become bland and predictable - the freezer, microwave and cheese-paring (literal and figurative) have begun to rule supreme. Furthermore, there has been a certain loss of pride in the product among the owners and  employees. Quite a few bars have MacDonaldised - they have become mere sellers of food and drink; they have turned into what I could only term as single-outlet franchises where those behind the counter sell in a rather soulless manner and those in front consume undemandingly in time to the rhythmic ping of the microwave and the backbeat beep of the touch-screen cash register.
Looking towards the kitchen ('scuse
fingers -mine, bottom left!)

La Posada de Antonio bucks this trend; its chips are home-made and the food fresh and freshly prepared by a cook who takes pride in his work. The only ping is the cook's bell informing the waiter that there's a fresh tapa ready for serving. This means that not only is the hot food fresh, but it also arrives hot at the table or counter - something not to be relied on in all bars, especially if the waiter is busy chatting to his mate about football.

On Sundays the special of the day alternates between paella and a bean stew that surpasses description. On weekdays the long list of tapas offers a bewildering choice. I will try to give you an idea of my favourite - the superserranito. This is a large roll with a grilled pork fillet on a fresh, fluffy omelette and topped with a generous slice of cured ham, tomato slices and a fried green pepper - all of this served with the aforementioned chips and with a portion of ali-oli sauce. The price?  €3.00!

Today I enjoyed toast with olive oil and cured ham - real cured ham, not the vacuum packed plastic stuff peddled by so many bars in Seville today - and two cafés cortados. A café cortado is a small strong coffee with a mere splash of hot milk. When I ask for it in GB, I ask for an espresso and then I dobble the merest hint of milk into it. Such coffee, if well-made, has body and strength but is not nasty and bitter. Needless to say the coffee was perfect. I left the bar with my inner man sighing contentedly.

"The smokers' tent"
All of this can be enjoyed in the bar itself or outside in what I term the smokers' tent. Make a rule and someone will bend it. Publicans Europe-wide have cottoned onto these shelters where smokers can smoke "outside" while still being sheltered from the elements. In this picture you might just be able to make out a gas heater lurking in the depths of the tent. It is also a blessing for their fellow non-smoking mates as the smoke does not hang heavy in the air.

The first week that it opened there was nobody in there. Now there's nobody in the other nearby bars.

¡¡¡Olé La Posada de Antonio!!!


  1. I remember with affection a little bar in Seville called Bar Isla or Bar La Isla, where we students went for lunch on weekdays. They took an interest in us foreigners and our college Spanish but without being intrusive. We used to ask what the tapas of the day were, just for the fun of hearing them reel off the list!

    We have lately discovered a gem near us, a cafe called Cafe Par, whose owner, no mean conversationalist, prepares the food freshly to order.

    As you say, such places are becoming rare as microwaved packet-food becomes the norm.

    Modern civilization brings many benefits but there are also casualties along the way. Those who strive to maintain standards and provide us with service as it should be, are among today's heroes, often unsung but deserving of our patronage and support.

  2. Is/was Bar La Isla the one across the (now pedestrianised & entrammed) C/San Fernando from the Tobacco Factory?
    I seem to remember it from my student days, too. If it is the one I think, I was there last week having a café cortado.
    BTW, I had a superserranito in La Posada on Dec. 24th with my son - an ever-hungry student and serranito expert. His pronouncement was highly positive!