Pepe Vieira Camiño da Serpe

Ostra con gin fizz
Xosé T. Cannas
Country: Spain
City: 36994 Raxó (Pontevedra)
Address: Camiño da Serpe, s/n
(+34) 986741378
Closed: Monday; Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights, except in summer (only closed on Sunday night and Monday)
Price: 55/90 €
Tasting menu:: 53 y 73 €

From the very beginning, when they set up their small restaurant on Sanxenxo’s coast, the Cannas brothers, Xosé and Xoan, intended to become a milestone of Galician cuisine. And they made it, both at local and national level. In this eating house located in the mountain, overlooking the river –probably one of the most beautiful in Galicia–, the trend they follow is rather more reflexive than it used to be recently. This is logical, because with the time, Xosé has matured, and so have his culinary proposals, which turn to be more personal and effective, less showy and spectacular. Pepe’s quest is more based on evolutionary perfection than on experimental art. Splendor, solidity, kind revolution, nonconformist and possibilist evolution: this is what he is now busy with. The cook has understood that the only way to progress is to do it together with the guests.
This is why his appetizers and starters have a bit of everything: passion for local land, always reinvented, and avant-garde cosmopolitism, expressed with sensibility. Corn bread, creamy cod with minimized raisins and five proposals of Galician broth. The cook has got good taste, elegant flavours and harmonic contrasts; that is a fact. This exquisiteness is also applicable to the chromatism and to the essenciality of the articulations. Like the oyster, served without shell nor barbels, raw, crowned by a gin fizz foam that gives a citric touch without affecting the mollusc at all. The Bloody Mary made of tomatoes ripened on their branch proposed with prawn tartare and seasoned with the seafood’s coral was another joyful moment; a demonstration of fashion and composure. The chef hardly needs to have to look at himself in the mirror. To exemplify this, there is nothing like the Solo centollo (only spider crab): delightful cooked and shred meats that form an island surrounded by the depth of a broth made with the animal’s shell, served with a crunchy toast thrusted into the lobster; a spectacular oceanic soup. We had never tasted such a noble, immaculate, light and attractive toast: imagine an extremely thin layer of wheat bread seasoned with garlic and carrots, covered by some wonderful sea bass shavings, raw and chewy, garnished and refreshed with arugula, shoots and herbs... The only dish of the feast that might raise objections is the prawn omelette, served with peeled tails and entire heads decorating the scrambled eggs, cooked in two ways: too set up and raw on the top. The proposal was not especially good, was not very easy to eat (because of the heads) and the elements did not really match together. But this was not important, because clairvoyance and exquisiteness immediately showed up again with the hake filet coated with a subtle layer of egg and hints of garlic and parsley; iridescent meat lain on an utterly refined lime mayonnaise. A successful version of the hake coated with breadcrumbs. Historical memory is also expressed through two daring brushstrokes: lamprey cooked into Souson red wine with toasted pine kernels and arugula. It won’t be easy for you to find a better tartare steak, as natural as can be, creamy, served with the spicy touch of different mustards, old Gouda cheese and corn bread; irresistible. The stew is synonymous with proverbial audacity and technique: a surprising potato ball that contains meat, soaked in the broth. Can I have another one please? Joxé has definitely opted for the scientific way.
Wines deserve a separate chapter. They reflect Xoan Cannas knowledge, a man who is able to find marvellous bottles without getting influenced by their fame or the current fashion and to offer them at really affordable prices.