Restaurante Samsha : Very inventive and well made
Anders.Pedersen 09/06/12 19:28
Fecha de visita*:
Precio por persona: 25.0 €
A friend and I went for lunch at Samsha during Valencia's restaurant week, Cuina Oberta, and had three courses each for €20.
There were two options for each course, and we chose differently for every course so we could try everything.
* First off, we had a spelt tabula with a cucumber ring surrounding a cherry tomato stuffed with tuna ice cream. Around the tabula was a "katsuo bushi" soup. I had never heard about such a soup before, but it had a pleasant flavour, although both of us agreed that it was simply too salty. To me, this was definitely the worst dish of the meal, as the tabula itself was pleasant enough and fairly refreshing, but simply lacked a bit of flavour, and the same goes for the tomato. The tomato itself didn't seem ripe, and I could barely taste the stuffing.
* The other starter was octopus. If you go to a bad restaurant, octopus or squid can be horrible. If you go to a good restaurant, it can be great. This was great. It was blackened on the outside and incredibly tender on the inside. It came with two salmorejo sauces and tender and sweet vegetables underneath. This was a particular pretty presentation and might have been the best dish of the meal.
* One of the main courses was the fish called meagre (corvina in Spanish). I've never tried this fish before, but what I can say is that it was perfectly cooked and not dry at all (which overcooked fish can easily be). It had good flavour too. It came with a small "airbag" with brine of pork and several types of seaweed and seaweed foam on the side. Sea weed is not my favourite thing (one of the reasons is that it is very salty), but I appreciated the creativity.
* The other main course was guinea fowl with pineapple covered with wasabi sesame + "false meat juice", which was hops. The guinea fowl itself was super juicy and tender. Simply perfect. The pineapple was also really nice, and they had clearly also cooked it, making the flavour a bit more intense. The sesame seeds seemed to be just sesame seeds to me (no wasabi), but it was nevertheless a very nice combination. According to the waiter they had added balsamic vinegar and something else to the hops, but as I've only had hops a few times before I couldn't really tell. The hops were definitely the weakest element in this dish. I would have preferred a sauce instead, but as the meat was so juicy, it worked fine without a sauce.
* Then came the desserts: One was a chocolate dessert. Two seitans were stuffed with hazelnut gianduja cream on top of crumble made from caramel and pine kernels, and chocolate "rocks" and a bit of guayaba cream finished it off. I couldn't tell from the flavour if there were actually pine kernels in the crumble, but other than that it was a strong dessert with nice flavours and a good combination of textures. Along with the octopus, this was my favourite of the meal.
* The other dessert was a yoghurt ice cream inside a raspberry wrapping (it looked similar to marzipan) put in a kataifi and honey nest on top of a foamy soup of lichies. The yoghurt ice cream was very nice, but the raspberry wrapping didn't really have any flavour. The other problem with this dessert was the lichies. I like lichies, but their flavour can easily overpower the rest of the dish (just as is the case with rose water), which they also did here. Eaten separately, the ice cream and the soup were very nice, but together the lichies dominated the entire picture. Nevertheless, it was a pleasant dessert.
* On top of these three courses, we also had an appetizer and a kind of petit-fours. Both, cleverly, looked almost identical. The appetizer was super fluffy and light guacamole that first was a little bit sweet and then slightly spicy at the end. At the end it was a pistachio cream instead (which could have had more flavour though). There was also something that looked like fish eggs, which was lemon and ginger (I think in both cases), and then we could scoop everything up with either sweet or savoury bread.
* Every dish, even desserts, were served with bread. This was a great feature, but I just didn't find the breads that interesting.
* "Service + wine + look of the restaurant/atmosphere: The restaurant looks hyper modern. Although I wouldn't say the place is beautiful, it goes well with the food. The problem, though, was the noise level. There were simply too many tables and/or the restaurant wasn't soundproofed enough, so at the end of our meal, when the restaurant was full (we were the first ones there), we had to shout at each other.
With regards to service/wine, the waiter asked if we would like wine, and we asked for a glass each. He just said "okay", and went away. When he came back shortly after in another matter, I told him what types of wine I preferred. If I hadn't, he probably wouldn't have enquired. He didn't bring a wine list or tell anything about the wine, or even showed us the bottle, when he brought it. He didn't ask us to try different wines either, which some places do. They explained what was on our plates, but as I don't speak much Spanish, all the communication went straight to my Spanish companion (even when they were telling what was on my plate). I know that I have to learn more Spanish, but it didn't seem like they made much of an effort to at least try to communicate with me. The service in general was good, but not Michelin star level, where the waiters pour water the minute your glass is empty and so on. This is not a big deal for me, but as the food here is easily as good as, or better than, the food I've had in some Michelin star restaurants, better service and a better wine aspect could give the restaurant a notch upwards. That of course would mean that the price would go up as well, as better service require mores waiters, and waiters have to paid. Nevertheless, I've been to Michelin star restaurants where the price was around €50 for a menu, and Samsha charges €47 + IVA for their seven course menu. So…
*Value for money + summary: We both felt like we really got bang for our bucks for €20 for three such creative dishes + the appetizer and "petit fours". The wine was cheap as well at around €2.50 for a glass. Although I didn't like everything here (especially the sea weed) it was well executed, and everything was cooked just the way it should be – especially the octopus, fish and the guinea fowl. As mentioned, I would have liked a bit more flavour in some of the elements, but that's details. The menu mentioned a lot of ingredients I had never heard of before, and I don't know if I would actually have noticed any difference in flavour if these ingredients had been omitted.
I gave Sangonereta a similar score for the food, but I definitely enjoyed my meal at Sangonereta more, and I still think back on that meal very often and melt with pleasure. The meal at Samsha started to fade quicker. If I could have given more precise grades, I would give Samsha a 8 or 7,5 for the food, but I felt very happy when I left the place, and I would definitely come back, so 8,5 is fine.
Now that I look at their website, paying €20 for three courses for lunch didn't seem like such a bargain after all, as they have a lunch offer, Monday to Friday, where, if I'm not mistaken, you can choose three courses from their five course or their seven course menu, get a drink and have a cup of coffee, all for €22 + IVA.
09 de Junio de 2012 (19:47)
Oye nano, y sin ánimo de ofender, ¿porqué no escribes en español?
Digo, así a los de bajo nivel cultural nos enriquecería más tu experiencia.
09 de Junio de 2012 (19:51)
Hablo muy pocquito español. Me español es muy malo y no quiero escribir en español porque nada persona comprenda una valoración en me español (y uso mucho timpo escribir en malo español).
09 de Junio de 2012 (19:56)
Pues no lo haces nada mal. Aunque te lleve mucho tiempo, te invito a ello, no solo practicarás el idioma y la escritura, sino que además nos enriquecerás con tus experiencias.
09 de Junio de 2012 (19:57)
Quizas en el futuro, pero no con Samsha.
09 de Junio de 2012 (21:07)
jajajaja. que bueno. Te has adelantado, yo también se lo iba a decir
09 de Junio de 2012 (21:55)
Catetos, que sois unos catetos :)
10 de Junio de 2012 (07:48)