When you are sitting cheek by jowl on a stool at the bar of Nou Manolin in Alicante there seem few better places to be in the world. Nou Manolin is super popular with the locals so it is best to get their slightly early to secure a prime position at the bar. Legs of jamon hang overhead and prawns are heaped on ice along the bar. Behind the bar there is frenetic activity as the waiters race from order to order (so quick that the waiter in my photo is just a blur of hands!).
We sipped on sangria and selected some tapas from the menu while scanning everyone elses plates to see what looked good. MTV boyfriend has developed an addiction to calamari a la romana while in Spain so we started with a serve of that. Due to his addiction we are now connoisseurs of this dish and found Nou Manolin’s version slightly heavy handed on the batter, however this was the only slip of the night.
Croquettes with ham were a highlight: toasty hot and oozing cheese. Meatballs cooked in wine were also decidedly moreish. Eggplant gratin provided a little cheesy vegetable content, however the stars of the show were the mini bocadillos, toasted rolls enclosing small fillets of tender steak and swathes of garlic butter. Simply divine.
It was a case of having to be prised off our bar stools in order to relinquish them for some hungry Spaniards jostling for position to sample the treats from Nou Manolin.
Details: Calle Villages 3, Alicante, Spain (965 200368)