Aponiente – Angel León, a great thalassophile

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How do I start to describe my experience at Aponiente? I get great joy from gastronomic experiences therefore I am always on the look out to be wowed but I have to say that very few times does an entire meal have the capacity to move you leaving you with a feeling of thrill and the knowledge that something truly remarkable is happening at this restaurant. That is the way I felt during our meal at Aponiente but the feeling lingered on with me way until the next morning when I woke up excited, reminiscing over the different perceptions  and tastes of the previous night. Even now that a couple of weeks of gone by since our stay,  I still recall that feeling.

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Excitement is perceived in the air as you arrive to Aponiente, this restaurant is located where salt pond farms used to stand but the area, over time, became a rubbish dump. Thanks to Ángel León, the land has recovered its hidden beauty. I feel that people like Ángel who have such a love and care for their hometown and such a commitment to make it better deserve so much support but he doesn’t stop there. He is in love with the sea, with sustainable fishing, giving discarded fish a whole new opportunity. I find his story, his goal, to be admirable. Ángel has been dreaming of different ways of presenting fish to his public and he manages to create an aura of magic which accompanies you throughout the dinner. It is not only that the menu is created using only fish (sea creatures) and vegetables but the way each dish is presented. The amazing platters that conjure up the sea. A meal at Aponiente is a not only a meal, it is an experience that lasts a life time. Let me share with you mine…

We started off with the most amazing shrimp cakes, they were paper thin and absolutely delicious. The problem now is going back to the other ones.

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Do you remember the packaging you get when you buy pastries at your local pastry shop? Here in Spain the cakes are usually arranged on a golden tray over a paper napkin and then wrapped in wax paper. That is just how our second aperitif arrived to our table.

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But this time they weren’t sweet pastries but salty ones. The eclairs were delicious especially the black one which had squid ink. The one to your far right is a plankton polvorón (polvornes are typical Christmas sweets)

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Next came an amazing presentation, because when you see it, you immediately think that you are going to get Spanish sausages but you can’t believe all that you see because here the eye plays a trick on the palate because if you weren’t told otherwise you would believe that you are having sobrasada, lomo and all types of typical Spanish cold cuts but what you are really having is fish. Ángel León, who is a true ecologist and worries about the sea, takes disrecarded fish which is fish which is caught in fishing nets but isn’t commercialized because it is not the species the consumers are looking for. He takes these fish and discovers their potential proving to the diner that these fish can also be tasty.

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