Cafe Valiente (Gourmet Chick in Spain)

We had come to Valencia for two things: La Tomatina and Paella. La Tomatina is an annual festival held at Bunol, a town just out of Valencia. To celebrate the tomato harvest, for one hour trucks of tomatoes are deposited in the streets and 30,000 people descend to throw tomatoes at each other. It is one of the most bizarre and most anarchic events I have ever participated in (see picture and thanks Tans for your bravery in attempting to take photos of the experience!).

Back to the paella, Valencia is known as the home of paella so I was determined to experience true Valencian paella. The problem was that we were hungry. It was late. MTV boyfriend is generally a saint but occasionally tires of being dragged around to find the ‘perfect’ restaurant. So we went to a place called Cafe Valiente that looked busy enough and had some outdoor seating to enjoy the balmy evening. It was a mistake.

Tapas came first. Calamari, patatas bravas and garlic prawns. The calamari was decent enough but both the patatas bravas and garlic prawns had been hit by a major oil slick. In the case of the garlic prawns they were literally swimming in the stuff, obscuring all flavour.

Then onto the paella which was not even served in a paella pan. I knew right then that there was no hope of this being a true Valencian paella experience. Actually I knew then that the paella wasn’t even going to be average. Serving sizes were meagre and it was a case of spot the seafood in the paella. Perhaps to compensate for this a few greasy unidentifiable chicken parts were thrown in for good measure.

We decided it was best not to have dessert, another round of beers instead was safest.

Details: 8 Carrer dels Manyans

Damage: Such a bargain that even my mother would approve

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