Ok, so this restaurant is not exactly on the seafront, but it isn’t far. Lymington is a fab port town popular for yachting with its three marinas. The area in general is a must to visit with the infamous New Forest nearby and a 40 minute ferry trip to Isle of Wight at your fingertips.
La Vina on the little high street, was a quick stop as we drove to Milton-on-Sea to check out Hurst Castle. La Vina could be classed as a chain as there are four of them, but I did not hold that against them being based in this little gorgeous Georgian market town.
We arrived for a late lunch at around 3pm, so it was very quiet (we were the only table). However, they were very welcoming and still afforded us attentive service.
Spanish food is my thing. There was a time I visited Barcelona three times a year for work, dated a guy from Coruna (Northern Spain) and befriended a network of Spanish settlers living in London. So, I know my Spanish food, regardless of the region. Of course, you won’t always get the authenticity here because of the climate and the inability to import some of the ingredients prevents that. But you can still stay true to the recipes by getting creative.
During our visit to La Vina (playing some great Flamenco and Spanish pop), we opted for one of my favourite dishes, Gambas Al Ajillo. This is a large king prawn (shell on) dish, cooked in olive oil, chilli and garlic. The prawn is supposed to be meaty but not too tough, so they ticked the box here. We partnered it with Pollo de mi Abuela, a chicken thigh dish cooked in white wine, garlic and cinnamon. It is supposed to be a dish from your grandmother “abuela”, so therefore quite traditional. Whilst cinnamon is one of the oldest known spices used widely in Spanish cooking, I have yet to come across this in a main courses. Yes for savoury, sweet and Christmas dishes, but this was new. We also had Esparagos (asparagus), freshly char-grilled with a chunky olive tapenade and fresh lemon zest. It was perfectly al dente. Asparagus is very popular in Spain, in fact you must try the white one.
La Vina is not like some of the authentic Spanish tapas small places I have been to in London, family run and Spanish team throughout, but it is a decent option if you can’t get to one or travel to Spain when you fancy a bit of Iberian cuisine.
113 High Street
T. 01590 674010