Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The tasting room

Another one to add to the list of fabulous places to eat: The Tasting Room in Cuna Street, St Augustine, Florida. St Augustine is an utterly charming old Spanish town about 100 miles north of Orlando. The historic district is just beautiful, like stepping back about three hundred years in time. Apparently it's the oldest continuously occupied settlement in the US.

A bit of the historic district - not the Tasting Room, though!

Hidden away in a back street, we found The Tasting Room, a marvellous little tapas bar, and sat out in their courtyard as the sun went down. They have a great selection of wines and champagnes, which we sampled liberally, and then gorged ourselves on dish after dish of Spanish food. The highlight was manchego cheese, with cherries marinated in sherry, almonds and spiced olive oil. It doesn't sound that spectacular, but the flavour was just incredible. In fact the whole evening was a non-stop barrage of flavour, culminating with chocolate truffle cake and cinnamon icecream, accompanied by a "port-like" wine which was an inspired recommendation.

The whole ethos of the place is about tasting and sharing, and they're only too happy to bring you tiny little portions of everything to try just a mouthful of. The "World of Bubbles" selection is a great way to try all sorts of champagnes. The live music was pleasant, the service was first-rate and friendly, and the ambience was welcoming and unhurried. The only tiny disappointment was that their espresso could have been stronger and blacker, but that's the only thing that stops me giving the place 10/10. 9.95/10 will have to do. After three hours of very pleasant eating, we very reluctantly hit the two-hour drive to Orlando.

We had change from $100 for two people, which given the quantity we consumed and the quality of the food, is astonishingly good value. Well worth the trip, and very highly recommended. I'd like to get back there some day, and see if the other restaurants round there are as good as people say. If so, then perhaps the historic district of St Augustine could rival the Rue de St Michel in Cannes for my favourite places in the whole world to eat.

Stupidly, I didn't take a pic of the place in daylight, and all the night-time shots are too flashed out to post, so if anyone has a pic of the Tasting Room, please give me a link!

1 comment:

johnnie said...

A Mongoose post without the correct picture? You're slacking.