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It’s not difficult to spot La Tegala.
Driving south from Lanzarote Airport along the Yaiza road with the Guardilama, Gaida and Tinasoria mountain ranges on my right, a hypnotic vista over the Atlantic to Fuerteventura on my left and all around me a landscape of black volcanic lava, I pass a small, rocky outcrop and atop it, La Tegala shines out.
Boldly blending avant-garde, geometric design in glass, steel and timber with the whitewashed plaster and exposed cornerstones of the traditional Canarian architecture of its original finca, La Tegala is an architectural symbolism of the ethos and methodologies behind this gastronomic paradise on the hill.
It’s a hot, November afternoon as I step up through the neat gardens of cactus, spurge and spiky agave plants in their bed of black lava and into the welcome shade of the bar. Above the dark wooden counter a large abstract oil canvas occupies its space perfectly, seemingly quite at home alongside the wine coloured, stone walls and polished wooden floors of the immaculately renovated farmhouse. Leaving the subdued light of the bar, I squint in the glare of sunlight that floods the glass sided dining room and spotlights the fabulous views over to Fuerteventura afforded by the restaurant’s vantage point.
I’m here to enjoy a lunch time degustación, or taster menu, prepared by head chef Germán Blanco, the man whose culinary skills are putting La Tigala on the gastronomic map.
Placing the emphasis firmly on flavour, Germán Blanco uses 30%-40% local produce in his kitchen, combining the taste and quality of some of the Canary Islands’ finest products with his culinary know-how and own unique style, Germán creates dishes that taste even better than they look. Tiny papas bonitas potatoes, the firm white flesh of the cherne fish and flavour-packed, succulent cocino negro pork all appear on the menu in dishes as elegantly presented as any you’ll find in Michelin starred restaurants across Europe.
My gourmet lunch began with an eclectic hors-d’ouvre consisting of a single anchovy with tomato in a tin; a succulent croquette of small squid in its ink encased in a crunchy breadcrumb exterior and what looked like green egg yolk but turned out to be a liquid olive which took the essential taste of its solid former self and quite simply transcended it.
A single, plump and crispy langoustine on a bed of breadcrumbs with mango whetted my appetite further and perfectly illustrated the symbiotic tastes of the local produce of land and sea. A simple combination of locally grown papas stuffed with tuna and avocado tartare on thin slivers of green tomato slices with dried fruits again capitalised on the flavours of the Canary Islands, the addition of a lava-like, wafer-thin piece of black bread added texture and an echo of the volcanic landscape that surrounded us.
The fish course was, as you might expect, a beautiful piece of succulent cherne (wreckfish) which is a very common feature of Canarian menus but it doesn’t usually arrive on a foamy bed of algae and accompanied by juicy bites of crab and langoustine. Another classic Canarian dish forms the meat course but instead of being chunks of varying quality piled on top of a plate of chips, Germán takes traditional cabra con papas (goat with potatoes) and gives it a five star culinary makeover. Tender, succulent and lean shoulder of baby goat with a salt-encrusted, crispy coat sits atop creamy potatoes and is drizzled in a savoury reduction of its juices. Never has goat tasted so good.
Thoroughly sated on the tastes of the Canaries and still mesmerized by the surroundings, it’s time for dessert. Once again, Germán has taken one of the most popular sweet dishes on the islands, retained its essential flavours and has taken it to whole new gourmet heights. This time it’s the simple milk rice pudding that gets the Blanco treatment. I confess I am not a fan of milk puddings so my heart sank a little when the artistic blend of creamy rice with whisper thin slivers of filo pastry dusted in nutmeg arrived. But when the lemony, pastry and nutmeg combination hit my tongue, all memories of school puddings evaporated and I’m pretty sure I even let an audible and embarrassing sigh of pleasure slip from my throat. In fact, it was so good I even forgot to photograph it until I’d already demolished some.
La Tegala’s menu changes seasonally to reflect freshness and availability of locally sourced ingredients. The degustación menu is €39.50 without wine and €52 including wines. If you only treat yourself to one fancy meal when you’re in Lanzarote, head to the restaurant on the rocks and give yourself something to remember the island by for a very long time.
La Tegala, on the Tias to Yaiza road in Macher; (+34) 928 524 524; open Mon-Sat 1pm-4pm, 7pm-11pm
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, you can read her latest content on Google+
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