For the next article of Extra Portions please welcome to the stage the Monroes restaurants of Moraira and Pedreguer, to be applauded for their value for money and friendliness.
Speaking of extras there are a couple of things I would like that are slightly out of my financial reach. Mainly a rotating roof top terrace that follows the sun all day, preferably with private chef, and a bathroom made entirely of fishtanks. So bearing in mind that I have a bit of saving to do, I’m chuffed to have found not one but two good restaurants that I can leave with me and my bank manager (remotely, not invited…) smiling like a Cheshire cat.
If you miss the culinary comfort food of Cheshire, or any other county in the UK, it’s Monroes that you need to head to. If you are a bit paellaed-out, then Monroes have a comprehensive English menu that will tingle those taste buds and cure that occasional homesickness. See the advert in the magazine. British classics cooked to perfection with prices that make you wonder how they do it, and smug that you didn’t shop’n’cook as there would be very little change (depending on how much you charge your loved ones for domestic slavery – I think 25€ per hour plus no washing up is the going rate).
Another fantasy of mine would be to live in a sitcom, surrounded by wise-cracking friends with juicy dilemmas, preferably set in a bar. Cheers, anyone? The vibe in the Monroes restaurants is as close to a US comedy set in Boston but featuring UK expats in Spain as you could get. Almost any time of day you will find a gathering of friendly Norms bonding at the bar. And a plethora of couples and families enjoying generously portioned fresh meals regardless of the hour as you can eat here all day (other than the carvery which closes between 3.30 and 6pm).
Heidi, the hard working owner (who flits between the two restaurants) has been here for 28 years. Her Austrian, English and Dutch heritage has given her a combination of efficiency, down-to-earthness and humour (in that order!) and the restaurants also inherit those qualities.
Two examples of Heidi’s humour. I asked why the restaurant was called Monroes. She replied dead-pan (pun intended) "Well, it’s easy and cheap to find Monroe pictures, and everyone likes her." I don’t know if I was expecting a pithy monologue on the tragedy of a misunderstood Hollywood-sapped blonde, but it did make me smile.
The second example doubles up as advice. For those of you still asking your mates to visit from the UK with bags of 20p coins for cheap pool playing in Pedreguer - don’t bother. With no warning Heidi switched the English coin mechanism for a euro one secretly one night so that she could enjoy the baffled faces the next day.
Tuesdays are a real must in Pedreguer as as the lamb stew and dumplings are fabulous. Sometimes the Monroes restaurants have live music and charity events so pop in regularly to check out what’s going on, and you never know you might bump into Woody Harrelson behind the bar. Now that would be something else off my wish list...
The meals at Monroes are excellent value for money, and cracking comfort food, but rest assured all served with British-style attention to detail, Dutch-style welcoming ambience, and Austrian-style smooth running competence. And my bank manager is happy too (even uninvited).