Tucked away on a side street, away from the crowds that gather in the city centre, is Eslava, one of the gems of the Seville food scene. This was a location recommended to us by Madrid Food Tours, and what a great recommendation it was. Being foreigners without much of a grasp on the local language, we decided to get there early before the crowds hit (and believe me, the crowds flooded into this popular joint very fast) so that it would be easier to communicate with the bar staff in a calm mix of English and Spanish.
Like most bars in Spain, we made our drink orders and were served a small appetiser to begin the meal. This, to date, was my favourite complementary appetiser so far. The olives had a glorious mix of saltiness and bitterness, and the fava beans were delicious. I could almost have just kept ordering more drinks and feasting off the appetisers.
For the fourth time that day I ordered myself a glass of cava, the Spanish answer to Champagne. For less than 3 Euros a glass, why not?
Between two of us, we ordered a bunch of dishes to share. I love love love slow cooked eggs, so I couldn’t go past the prize-winning (winner of the “Sevilla en Boco de Todos” prize, according to the menu at least) huevo sobre bizcocho de boletus y vino caramelizado, or slow-cooked egg on a boletus cake with caramelised wine sauce. It was quite obvious from this dish that Eslava serves a range of very modern and refined dishes, as opposed to some other places that stick to a very rustic sort of style (both styles have their merits).
We ordered a couple more dishes, including the duck and the deep-fried anchovies. The anchovies are not like the overly pungent ones from a can. They are fresh and have a mild taste of seafood and salt, and are an addictive snack with glass of wine or beer.
Salmorejo is a cold tomato soup originating from Andalusia, so this was a perfect opportunity to try it. It is the cousin of gazpacho, however with more bread and therefore a thicker consistency. As expected, it tasted fresh and full of flavour. Eslava served it with chopped hard-boiled eggs and jamón, giving it a great textural element.
As full as we were, we couldn’t walk away without at least trying one dessert, especially after being so pleased with the previous dishes. I asked one of the bar attendants for a dessert menu, but was told that they had nothing written down, so she proceeded by telling me about each dessert verbally. She didn’t speak English (or chose not to), but I knew enough in Spanish to at least get a vague understanding of what each dessert was. I went for the tarta de queso, or cheesecake.
This cheesecake was seriously one of the best I had ever tasted. I don’t like overly heavy cheesecake, but this was light (well, in cheesecake terms at least) and tasted like it had been made with ricotta or some other similar cheese. I would have loved to try the other desserts, but we needed to stop somewhere. Definitely worth a try for cheesecake lovers!
Eslava should be on the to-visit list of anybody visiting Seville and looking for good food. Seville was a great city and is definitely on my radar as a place to re-visit, and I will be sure to drop by Eslava for more great food.