Last Sunday Rich and I trooped along to 40 Alfred Place for a pop up restaurant lunch. La Panameña is the brain child of blogger and Panamanian Carla from Can Be Bribed With Food. La Panameña was celebrating Panama's flag day or Día de la Bandera, Panama's independence from Colombia. This was my first time to 40 Alfred Place and I can tell you after this it won't be my last. It has a real charm to it that is just like dining in someone's house. Greeted by yellow banners and photographs from Panama it definitely took you out of such a grey day in Bristol even if it was just for a couple of hours.
|La Panameña's home made hot sauce
Keep an eye out for upcoming events from La Panameña because I can tell you now that you will need to snap up places for the next one quickly, the food was just that good. I'm not going to go into too much detail, I will let the photos do that but it was warming, comforting and wonderfully flavoured probably one of my most enjoyable meals of the year because it was so relaxed and tasty. With a real family atmosphere this felt like a real celebration and I wasn't even from Panama but I wanted to get up celebrate and dance to the Latin American music that floated through the venue, the sense of belonging was just amazing, it also helps if you are greeted with a rum punch as you arrive.
|Tazita de Guacho
First presented with a taster, Tazita de Guacho, or rice beans and pork soup a wonderfully comforting and fresh tasting soup that was full of flavour but also super nutritious, almost like you could feel it battling the Winter illnesses as you ate it. Carla has put the recipe up on her blog if you are interested in making it for yourself. Starters were brought out of Ceviche de Pescado Blanco and Patacones, basically a fresh raw sea bream with tomatos, onions and cashews marinaded in lime juice and fresh coriander served with a side of green fried plantain.
What was really sweet was that knowing I dislike fresh coriander (it tastes like soap to me, apparently this is a genetic thing) I was brought a dish of my own without coriander. This really touched me I remember mentioning it months ago and unprompted (I would never have asked) I got my own portion to share with Rich. Details like this really make a meal extra special. The ceviche was gorgeous, so fresh and cleansing, perfect with the rich plantain and the home made yellow hot sauce went perfectly, I've been told that bottles of it will be on sale at the next event, this stuff is a revelation.
|Ceviche (minus the coriander)
|Ceviche and fried plantain
|Beef Tasajo in Tomato and Coconut Sauce
|Beef Tasajo Served with Rice and Peas
The mains were served in big enamel pots so we could serve ourselves, family style. The crowning glory of the meal for me was the beef tasajo. A slow cooked stew of locally sourced beef shin in a smoky tomato and coconut sauce. Even writing about it now is making my mouth water. The beef fell apart and was so full of flavour this was the recipe we were all begging for by the end of the lunch. Although closely followed by the slow cooked chicken cassarole which had lots of olives and capers in it which gave it a tangy edge, I also want to make this to perk up dark Sunday nights.
|Tres Leches Cake with Dulce de Leche Dip
Tres Leches Cake, is one that has been soaked in three different milks, but the cake is not soggy it has just absorbed all the flavour like a sponge. Not like any cake I've ever had, it was almost like a baked cheesecake and cake hybrid and with a wonderfully smooth caramel, I absolutely loved it. More please! Check out Wuthering Bites' take on the event for gluten free.
So definitely snap up places for the next La Panameña event because you will not be disappointed with the food, better than a lot of restaurants I have been too I left with warmth in my belly and an ignited passion for newly discovered Latin American food and that can only be a good thing.