Among the restaurants around Tomas Morato, Alba is one of Mr. B’s favorites. It had been a few months since our last visit and it was time to head back. While we were on the way, we called to reserve a table and order a paella, as it takes time to be prepared. We were informed that the restaurant had an upcoming event later that afternoon, although our timing still allowed us to dine without any complication.
Since it was still the holidays then, parking was very difficult. Valet service was luckily available and we were glad that it was. Upon entering the restaurant, however, we learned that there was an ongoing event. The main dining space was busy with the party, and we were at a loss whether we actually had a table. Upon calling the staff over the phone as everyone seemed too busy inside, we were instructed to head to an enclosed portion of the restaurant where they continued to cater to regular diners. The vibe here was markedly different from that of the chaotic party outside and we were allowed to enjoy our meal in peace (mostly).
We started off our late lunch with two glasses of sangria. I loved it! It was refreshingly fruity yet was still boozy. It tended to become sweet as time went by, but nothing that another dose of ice wasn’t able to cure. To go with the sangria, we ordered some chorizos fritos (P400) as our appetizer. It was a little tougher than expected, but I didn’t know whether it was heated too much or if it was the real texture. Sautéed in oil, the chunks of chorizo were enjoyable with hints of paprika permeating throughout the cured meat. I still preferred the richness of the morcilla though, but Mr. B preferred this one.
What we were more excited about was the salpicado de solomillo (P680). Yes, even after being a staple in our meals at Alba, the idea of this dish still excited us. As we ordered it, we were asked about our preference for its doneness. [If you ever order this dish at Alba, don’t forget to request for a medium-rare doneness if it is your preference, as not doing so will result in a less-than-stellar experience.] Thankfully, this beef dish was served to us perfectly cooked. With cubes of meat this tender, it was bite after bite of gastronomic indulgence.
Timed perfectly, the paella de cordero (P800) was served alongside the salpicao to round off our meal. I had been craving for lamb for quite some time, and this would hopefully end that craving. Unfortunately, the lamb bits were a bit overdone. The rice, as was typical in any of this restaurant’s paellas, was very flavorful. Unfortunately, there was hardly any soccarat on the pan, which was truly disappointing. This was therefore the least favorite among the paellas of Alba that I’ve tried.
The service was good as usual, but today the level of attention was beyond my expectation. Our closed-off area had two doors that provided access to and from the main restaurant space. Some kids from the party in the main dining area spilled over into our area when a door was left ajar and began running around the entire restaurant. One of the servers was quick to notice what was happening and decided to talk and reason with the kids. He also made sure to keep the doors closed to prevent any accidents from happening as well as any unnecessary disturbances to other dining patrons. It was truly a commendable action.
Our meal was very good overall, despite having a mediocre paella. It was certainly one of those relaxing lunches despite the busy holiday season. I could only look forward to our next dining experience at Alba and try more food from their overwhelming selection of dishes.
Until next time, happy eating!