Our quest goes on. To eat our way around Gran Canaria. Welcome to the latest in our series.
El Equilibrista in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s Alcaravaneras was our last meal out. As the name suggests, it’s all about the balance at chef Carmelo Florido’s joint. Where an old-school portrait of his mother adorns a modern black-is-the-new-black interior.
Where Florido adds trad Canarian ingredients to famed international dishes, for a new take on such classics. Where local salt comes in three flavours: chilli, lemon, and, well, Atlantic Ocean. Here’s our three-part guide.
- El Equilibrista: how we got there
- El Equilibrista: what we ate
- El Equilibrista: what we drank
1. El Equilibrista: how we got there
From our Arenales base, we hit our nearest bus stop on Tomás Morales. Any of the 2, 25, or 81 would have taken us to the Parque Insular. Being a Saturday night, we had to a little while longer, with the 25 eventually pitching up.
We could have caught the 1 from Luis Doreste Silva. If you head into the capital by bus, El Equilibrista’s closer to Santa Catalina’s second terminal than San Telmo’s main one. Alcaravaneras is sandwiched between posh Ciudad Jardín and touristy Santa Catalina-Canteras.
Getting off at the old Estadio Insular, we navigated the mean streets of East Central Alcaravaneras. Door to door, we arrived at El Equilibrista in under half an hour. The restaurant’s Ingeniero Salinas is one of the barrio‘s quieter streets, more residential than commercial.
Pitching up at nine, we were the night’s first punters (the restaurant opens from 7:45pm to midnight for dinner). We felt that the stormy weather might mean we’d have the place all to ourselves. How wrong we were, as a stream of of customers quickly filled El Equilibrista.
2. El Equilibrista: what we ate
Master chef Carmelo Florido explained that the á-la-carte menu at El Equilibrista’s pretty fixed. However, there are seasonal specials. So, there’s spontaneity amongst the stability.
Mrs GCL got an early toothsome taste of El Equilibrista’s Christmas menu. Her makis de atún con gofio combined Japanese sashimi (tuna) with Canarian flour (roasted grain). In an effort to accommodate Mr GCL, Carmelo made a veggie-friendly version with courgette replacing atún.
The next course was one to share. The ensalada de pera, queso de cabra, piñones, rúcula, espinacas, hoja de roble y pesto de tomillo (9.33€) toyed both with the concept of Italian cooking and texture. So, a thyme pesto playfully accompanied pine nuts and pear turned up both sliced and grated.
If British football continues to be gentrified, one day they’ll sell pies at UK grounds of the ilk of those at El Equilibrista. Again, Carmelo Florido made Mr Gran Canaria Local feel right at home. For whilst Mrs Gran Canaria Local gleefully tucked into a puff pastry with foie, apple, mushrooms, and pine nuts (10.33€), Mr GCL feasted on one whose star ingredient was leek.
Our last solid course saw Mrs GCL memorably visit the Guadalupe (14.33€) of shrimp, grouper, coriander, chilli, and lemon rice. Meanwhile, Mr Gran Canaria Local dived into a dish improvised just for him. Meat-free cous cous as redefined in an European fashion.
3. El Equilibrista: what we drank
Another off-menu treat at El Equilibrista was a beautiful blue bottle of Lanzarote white. No mention of it was to be found on the wine list. Although there were similar high-quality vintages from both the Canary Islands and the Spanish mainland.
Well and truly stuffed, we were relieved our final two courses were sorbets. First up a tunos de indio (cactus fruit) one and then one made of manga (think a female mango rather than a Japanese comic). The sorbets were thin enough to be supped with a straw.
Six-courses full, we walked home. Arriving 20 minutes and 85 calories burned later. Well, this restaurant-reviewing lark requires us to keep in shape.
Disclaimer: Mr and Mrs Gran Canaria Local enjoyed a complimentary Saturday-night meal at El Equilibrista. Our weekends were made for working, it seems. If you’d like a review of your restaurant; let’s hook up.