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I’ve never been a fan of cider since I discovered the pipes to the Dry Blackthorn pump in the Paddleboat Disco in my home town had been infected by vinegar fleas. Unfortunately it was a few weeks after the fleas had set up home and quite a number of pints had been consumed before I found out. That sort of experience can put you off a drink for a long, long time.
Avilés in Northern Spain helped wash away the bad memories and taught me to appreciate the stuff of fermented apples once again.
It didn’t take me long to decide I liked the city of Avilés in Asturias, it possesses a rough and ready honesty as a result of an industrial background and the people are direct and down to earth. They reminded me of the folks I grew up with in the West of Scotland and, later, those I worked with in Manchester.
Sidrería Casa Lin typifies this down to earth character. It is a restaurant fit for working class heroes
The window displays some of the ugliest fish known to humankind (check out the San Pedro fish and tell me I’m wrong) whilst inside a sawdust floor brings back memories of sticky Yates’s Wine Lodge floors. There’s a constant exhibition of the typical way to pour Asturian Sidra by the restaurant’s waiters. This is no tourist show, there are no tourists.
Every one of the punters occupying the functional tables and chairs seems to be wearing brown or black, it’s a colour scheme that fits with the décor of an institution that dates back to 1890, since when it’s been plying the good people of Avilés with cider and good food. It wouldn’t take much desaturation to make the scene totally sepia coloured.
A huge board lists the who’s who of the marine world. Even though I believe I’m pretty familiar with the Spanish names for most fish and seafood, there are ones that baffle – bigaros, longaniza, ñocla.
The dining area is to the rear of the bar, away from the bulk of the cider pouring, and is a comfortable spot in which to partake of el tapeo, the best way to enjoy Casa Lin’s seafood selections.
The Food at Sidrería Casa Lin
Casa Lin is such an unpretentious establishment that the food is somewhat of a surprise. Smooth and creamy scorpion fish paté comes with a twirl of mayonnaise in delicate pastry shell; hake and red pepper tortilla is as light as a souffle; the famous Cabrales cheese served with membrillo cubes is so good it could make you cry.
Other offerings such as fried chorizos and chunky yellow potatoes are more in line with industrial appetites whilst fried sardines peel off the bone in cartoon cat and fish fashion. The navajas (razor fish) are navajas. They’re never my favourite seafood, but I’m partial to their oddity.
And, of course, all are accompanied by Asturian cider; a fun addition to any dining experience if poured as it should be… from a height.
This is when you realise that the sawdust floor is a very good friend.
Sidrería Casa Lin; Avilés; Avda de los Telares, 3; +34 985 56 48 27
Jack is co-owner, writer and photographer for BuzzTrips and the Real Tenerife series of travel websites plus lots of other things. Follow Jack on Google+