NYE at Local de Ensayo – Puente Tocinos

Well, what can I say about our experience at this restaurant other than WOW! Local de Ensayo in Puente Tocinos has regularly been featured in the Michelin Food Guide but is currently gunning for its first Michelin star. And although we´re not exactly seasoned food critics at Murcia Services, we do like to give our readers an insight into what this incredible region has to offer.

The saddest thing we see in the real estate industry day in day out is how many ex-pats we have residing in the local area that aren´t taking full advantage of Spain’s gastronomical hidden gem!

For those of you looking to expand your horizons and get a real taste of high-end Spanish gastronomy, you simply must give Local de Ensayo a visit.

We visited Local de Ensayo for a 14-course tasting menu on New Year’s Eve, inclusive of wine pairings WITH EVERY DISH!! for a special price of 120€ per person – Now this may seem steep compared to the common 10€ Menú del Día, but we are talking about opposite ends of food spectrum here.

The venue itself is extremely intimate and serves only about 20 covers at a time, but that only added to the experience. As guests, we felt a lot more connected with other diners during the traditional Spanish NYE countdown and felt that we had all shared the experience together, as opposed to actively trying to avoid eye contact as many of us Brits do in public places…

We arrived at the restaurant around 8 pm and swiftly greeted with a glass of champagne each and seated to our table. We were then asked if we´d like to crack on with the menu or if we´d prefer to social a little bit before they brought out the first course of the menu. This was just a small gesture but really went a long way as it gave us time to reconnect with friends that we hadn´t seen for quite some time.

When we finally got down to the tasting menu, several members of staff served the table all at once, so as to make sure that we were each served with each course, all at the same time.

I won´t go into each course as there were so many – and as competent as my Spanish is, I couldn´t quite understand the descriptions given by the waiters and waitresses by the 10th or 11th wine pairing! But I´m sure you can decipher the dishes for yourself from the pictures below.

As the New Year´s countdown drew closer, the restaurant tuned as all into the NYE countdown, along with supplying us with the traditional 12 grapes, which are to be eaten with each chime of the clock.

We all celebrated the arrival of 2020 with the staff and other guests in the restaurant as if we were all part of the same party.

We were then invited into the kitchen to take photos with the Chefs and to see where all the magic happens. Being invited into the kitchen was a good enough sign alone as it obviously demonstrated their confidence in the restaurant’s cleanliness and high standards.

Once the initial celebrations had calmed down, the kitchen continued with the remaining 3 or 4 dishes – One of which that particularly stuck in my head was a celery and beetroot dessert, which I definitely would not have ordered off a menu having read the description, but it was absolutely incredible!

As the night went on, we were left as the last table in the restaurant, and given as we were very close with one of the waitresses, we were simply left with the keys to the restaurant by the owner/head chef to continue with our celebrations and leave when we were done.

All in all, we, and every other table in the restaurant that evening, was treated like royalty and served some of the best food we´d eaten in this region.

To all the team at Local de Ensayo – Thank you!

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