Llamber is a gastrotaverna whose alma mater is in Avilés, the Asturian city on the north-west coast of Spain. With Francisco Heras in charge of the kitchen and Eva Arbonés as maître d’, this translucent space, which radiates the renewed atmosphere of the Born, is an interesting venture that adds dimension to an area already bursting with character. I’m sure that under the table where we ate, characters from the neighbourhood’s turbulent history have left their footprint.
I was introduced to Llamber by Gerardo, a great discoverer of restaurants and, like any good Madrid native, used to eating in that city’s magnificent Asturian taverns. But Llamber is not your typical Asturian restaurant. Heras has succeeded in fusing the traditional cuisine of the region with the styles of cooking he learnt at El Bulli, La Broche in Miami and Arola in the Hotel Arts. One example is the patatines – potatoes with cabrales, the powerful Asturian goat cheese with a hazelnut praline – a knowing wink at Arola’s patatas bravas.
The home-marinated salmon with citrus fruits, ginger and ginger ice cream is spectacular. It floods the palate with freshness. The grilled mature beef entrecôte is also praiseworthy. I admit that on this occasion I let a yen for a classic dish get the better of me. Of course you can order a platter of cheese or cold meats. But at Llamber, my unfinished business is of a different kind. When I go to a restaurant I like, the options I leave for the next visit are always ones that speak to the soul more than the belly. In this case, they sound magnificent too – Parmesan fondue with langoustines and wild asparagus, a home-made terrine of foie gras with apricots, fresh cod with guacamole, or the morcilla de Burgos with baby cuttlefish. Some are tapas for sharing, others are tasting dishes.
The last section of the menu is dedicated to llambiotaes (sweet treats), like the apple pie with sharp Asturian cider. The wine list is extensive and it makes a welcome change to find DOs other than the overexploited Rioja and Ribera del Duero.
|Opening hours:||Mon-Thu noon-1am; Fri-Sat noon-2.30am; Sun noon-1am|
|Transport:||Jaume I (M: L4)|