To celebrate Canarian Day on Monday 30th May, La Bandera are launching a special Canarian culinary experience for the whole of June – a unique 8-course Tasting Menu that takes you on a journey across the Atlantic islands.
The ‘Day of the Canary Islands’ is an annual public holiday, with celebrations stretching across the 8 main islands and usually featuring plenty of music, sport and of course – food. The long and tumultuous history of the islands has ensured that the cuisine is particularly unique, with a heavy focus on fish, and influences not just from the indigenous inhabitants of the islands, but also from Spain, North Africa, Cuba and the Caribbean.
La Bandera’s new 8-Course Canarian Tasting Menu takes you to one of the islands with every course, giving you an insight into this unique cuisine and traditions. Starting off at LANZAROTE with Gambas Volcan – king prawns cooked with white wine and a Canarian spice mix. A firm favourite on the La Bandera menu, this fiery prawn dish is as close to a signature dish that the restaurant offers.
For the next course you’ll head over to the island of EL HIERRO, the second smallest of the islands and farthest south. El Hierro is a rugged, highly geologically active island, famed for its fresh fish and wines, as well as its rich cheese-making traditions, which go all the way back to the 15th century. Therefore this course consists of Canarian grilled white cheese served with a traditional ‘mojo’ sauce and honey.
Next up is the island of LA PALMA and Pulpo en dos Cocciones – a take on the traditional Canarian dish ‘pulpo frito’ (fried octopus) with a heavy dose of La Bandera finesse.
The octopus is twice-cooked using a process called ‘scaring’ – dipping it into boiling water a few times to tenderise the flesh. After the octopus is been sufficiently frightened, it is left to boil for 30 minutes. It is then taken out and put into an ice bath to completely cool down. The tentacles are then cut off, rolled in flour and fried in oil. These two methods of cooking ensure a crispy outer layer with tender juicy flesh in the middle which simply melts in the mouth.
It’s off to TENERIFE now and the home of La Bandera’s owner Yashin, whose childhood inspired this next dish. Growing up in Puerto de la Cruz, Yashin’s first true experience of a ‘proper’ restaurant was Los Asadores – now one of the most famous eateries in the whole of the Canary Islands.
Each day they stoke up a huge fire inside their kitchen, grab some chickens and roast them slowly over the coals. The addition of the island’s unique mojo rojo sauce (slathered on with a mop) would marinade and add a succulent flavour to the meat as it cooked.
The memories of Los Asadores’s stunning chicken are still with Yashin today and so he wanted to bring the unique tastes and flavours to the new menu – and so Pollo Asadores was born.
The next course is a sorbet palate cleanser, but one which uses the Islands’ most famous fruit – bananas. GRAN CANARIA is home to many, many plantations, all growing the Dwarf Cavendish banana – which is about half the size of a Caribbean or South American banana but packed with much more flavour.
On to the island of FUERTEVENTURA and the Lubina Embarrada – a fillet of seabass in Canarian marinade, with peppers, black peppercorns, garlic and vinegar. Obviously, the islands are well-known for the quality of their fresh fish and you’ll find seabass on the menu of pretty much every restaurant. La Bandera marinates the fillets in a mojo sauce before pan-frying (for that crispy skin) with peppers, garlic and vinegar.
Now to one of the most unique Canarian dishes you’ll ever eat – Canre Cabra or slow-cooked goat from the island of LA GOMERA. The islands are famed for their goats, which were introduced thousands of years ago when people settled there from North Africa. They’re now the most popular meat in the Canaries, with their milk also being used to make many of the delicious cheeses in the area. A hearty, traditional dish, the goat meat is stewed for hours in a red wine and vegetable reduction. Simple but super-tasty and tender.
Finally, the menu takes you to the tiny, quiet island of LA GRACIOSA. Here you’ll try a Polvito dessert, which was invented by a couple of Uruguayan restaurant owners and quickly spread across the islands. It’s a light pudding made with layers of whipped cream, dulce de leche, crushed biscuits and topped with crushed meringue.
I’m sure you’re thinking this all sounds wonderful and I can assure you – it’s is. But there’s even more. Yep, if you try the Canarian Taster Menu at La Bandera this June then you’ll be automatically entered into a raffle to WIN a trip to Tenerife for 2 people! Your flights and hotel will be provided, as well as a tour of one of the island’s famous vineyards.
So, I think that’s enough reasons to get yourself booked in this June, which you can do below…
La Bandera’s Canarian Taster Menu
Date: Available every day in June
Cost: £59 per person, plus £30 extra for the wine flight