By day, the teal swimming pools, thatched roofs and creamy parasols of Club Laurel provide a Caribbean-esque environment where you can while away tanning hours, soaking up the default sunshine setting, with Italian dining and chilled cocktails a barefoot step away. By night they provide the romantic setting for sophisticated dining beneath a star studded sky with the gentle chords of an acoustic guitar supplemented by the cries of Shearwaters.
Where is it?
Club Laurel is the à la carte restaurant of Hotel Jardín Tecina on La Gomera and is also open to non residents. Situated at beach level, access from the hotel is via a lift built into the rock face and from the village of Playa Santiago by walking easterly along the seafront path. The restaurant sits between the foot of the cliffs and the beach.
A swimming pool and restaurant complex by day, the Club Laurel restaurant is set at the entrance to the beach club of the same name. The restaurant décor is understated both indoors and outdoors to allow the real showpiece, the setting, to take centre stage. An indoor dining room with low wooden roof, plain white walls and chunky wooden furniture provides a cosy atmosphere on chill winter evenings while the large outdoor terrace is the setting for sultry summer nights. Alongside the tables, there are cane easy chairs and even the Balinese beds on which to relax with a post-dinner brandy and coffee while listening to the flamenco guitar beneath the moonlight.
Very much the star of the show. We enjoyed the restaurant’s popular degustación (taster) menu which began with a chilled glass of cava followed by five excellent courses.
First up was an elegant and light squid ratatouille with mushrooms which had delightfully smoky overtones and warm sage flavouring. The squid was followed by a succulent piece of mero (grouper) on a bed of creamy rice flavoured with Arctic cod and topped with alioli and a chunk of sweet pineapple which brought out its flavour like a slice of lemon with a badass attitude.
A refreshing pineapple sorbet cleansed the palate of its fishy flavours in preparation for a tender, juicy piece of entrecote on a cushion of sweet potato and chorizo ravioli topped with a Teriyaki sauce, goat yoghurt foam and palm honey. A divine combination of melt-in-the-mouth textures and intense flavours that had me scraping the dish.
Dessert came in the form of a degustación within a degustación involving four mini cake treats accompanied by a glass of sweet Malvasía wine. I confess to being a tad over faced by the quartet but as the chocolate cake with its gingery aftertaste was too good to leave, I forced myself to finish every morsel.
The Club Laurel Tasting menu is priced at €39.90 without drinks (except the sweet wine with dessert). Hotel guests on half board pay just €8.90. There is also a vegetarian tasting menu which substitutes a vegetable kebab and Oriental salad for the fish dishes and crepes stuffed with leeks, courgettes and aubergines and served in a cheese sauce for the meat course.
The à la carte menu offers a small selection of fish, meat and vegetarian options as well as dishes for sharing and comes in at around €16 average for a main course.
Club Laurel, Playa de Santiago, La Gomera; open four days a week (days are subject to change so it’s essential to check before travelling); as the restaurant is understandably popular with hotel guests, booking is also essential; call (+34) 922 145 850 or (+34) 922 145 886
Unless it’s uncomfortably chill, choose a table on the outside terrace and in between the melodic chords of the flamenco guitarist, listen for the cries of the Shearwaters as they return to their cliff side nests. A unique and haunting sound which adds another unique aspect to this dining experience.
Andrea (Andy) Montgomery is a freelance travel writer and co-owner of Buzz Trips and The Real Tenerife series of travel websites. Published in The Telegraph, The Independent, Wexas Traveller, Thomas Cook Travel Magazine, EasyJet Traveller Magazine. Co-author of Walk This Way Tenerife and The Real Tenerife. You can read her latest content on Google+