I had the wonderful opportunity of spending an evening at Fino Restaurant & Bar in Parkhurst. I like to choose my dining partners according to the restaurant and since I'm not au fait with Spanish cuisine, I chose someone who was slightly more knowledgeable than myself.
I thought the two of us would handle it perfectly – while I soaked up the ambience and wine, she would talk me through the food. The manager soon realised that while I was happy to fill my face with his Spanish tapas delicacies, it wasn’t me he should be talking to and he focused his attention on my friend instead.
Thirty minutes later I had managed to work my way though stuffed manarila olives, almendra’s (almonds in paprika) and artichokes. When I managed to inhale an entire plate of chorizi chips, I was interrupted by the manager.
"Would you like some wine with that?"
For someone who tends to focus more on the liquid than the solids, I had managed to eat my way through five starters without having a single sip. When that happens, you know the food is not just good, it's downright amazing. While my dining partner babbled on about the uses of coriander to the attentive manager, I decided to give them some privacy and made a dash for the bathroom to check for the spinach-in-teeth look that I’m famous for.
The restaurant itself is no more Spanish than I am. With white washed floors, gorgeous finishes and the coolest toilet seat ever (it makes for some great first date conversation should you need it). I can only assume that while the food is so fantastically Spanish, he felt no need to overdo it with typical Spanish furnishings. By the way the entire wall that is covered by a mirror also makes for great subtle spinach-in-tooth review.
Wending my way back through the restaurant and out onto the balcony I found the manager still talking to my friend and could only assume they were now in a relationship. I left them to it and worked my way through haloumi triangles (highly recommended), Spanish white artichokes, lamb kebabs and fish puffs.
Trying to work my way into their conversation which had now moved onto places in Spain, I thought I would throw in the only Spanish I know which is 'Tengo un hermano'. Translated, this means 'I have a brother'. They both looked at me as if I was completely mad and I diverted their attention by downing my glass of Spanish Manzanilla sherry. I was hoping that by drinking only Spanish drinks, I would be fluent by the time I left.
We both left there with a definite spring in our step (I owe that to the five Spanish drinks we had) and big fans of Spanish tapas. As my dining partner cleverly pointed out, it's like sushi, you leave completely satisfied but don't feel the need to lie down on the pavement, groaning with your top button undone.
If you're looking for a romantic evening or an evening with the girls where you want to get Spanishly sloshed and trash men all night, surrounded by beautiful décor, this is the place for you. Olé!
Fino Restaurant & Bar was reviewed by Baglett. Read her tea-snortingly funny blog here.