Mid-week lunchtime eating out has always felt like a naughty, luxury for me. Not so apparently for Seville´s suited and booted funcionaries who cram into their favourite haunts, nipping out between courses to smoke an obligatory cigarette to cleanse the palate.
But when I do allow myself a daytime, eating liaison, I feel obliged to make it count and take advantage of a ´Menu del día´ option. The word menu in Spanish has a very specific use. It´s not the thing that you open to see what culinary delights are on offer in an eating establishment; that’s a ‘carta’. The menu actually refers to the lunchtime set menu that many restaurants and bars offer to get bums on seats during what is traditionally a tough trade to crack.
‘El menu del día’ always sounds like an exciting proposition. ‘3 courses, plus wine for 10 euros’ sounds pretty good to the average northern European or American trudging the streets of Seville. And in relative terms it ain´t that bad. But, and as ever there is a but, it’s always the same old, usual suspects on offer: a limp salad or vegetable soup as starter, some fish or meat with chips as a main and the confusingly named ‘flan’ which is really a creme caramel, as dessert. It fills a whole and that´s the extent of it.
But right now my days are free to do as I please and accept any invitations that come my way and so this week I found myself at Kaede, in the basement of the Hotel Macarena. By night it´s a slightly out-of-my-price-range sushi restaurant, but at lunchtime it offers the holy grail of the budget eater, ´el menú del día´ and without any of the usual dreary offerings. In fact it was one tasty, tempting delight after another. To start a little bowl of edamame beans is popped on the table while you mull over your choices. A seaweed salad, miso soup and pork mini rolls come as standard and then for the main one can choose between mixed sushi (nigiri and sashimi), sashimi with egg fried rice, chicken kebabs with rice, yaki soba or tempura vegetables with rice, followed by ice cream or coffee/tea.
I went for the sashimi, which was a decent sized without being over-facing, portion of salmon, tuna, mackerel and butterfish. The egg-fried rice was fresh and light and I finished off with some green tea ice cream and all at the very palatable price of €8.50. As I left I had a spring in my step, knowing that I’d eaten a healthy bite which had been kind to my stomach and with not a flan or crema catalana in sight.
Kaede Macarena (in basement of Hotel Macarena)
Calle San Juan de Ribera 2