Having previously eaten at this restaurant some months before our dinner date for ’24/7 Valencia’, we were very excited about a repeat visit. Our first dinner had been soon after it’s re-opening…more about that later.

The restaurant, to be found on the terrace below, and part of the ‘Reina Sofia Palau de Les Arts’, is ‘Contrapunto’. It is a lovely space, the backdrop is lattice of wood, stretching along the rear wall and looking a lot like a whale has started to drop down from above – it’s the dominant feature of the room and was constructed by one of Valencia’s Fallas sculptors…for those of you who may not know about Las Fallas, it is a spring  fiesta whose centrepieces are papier-mâché figures.

The opposite side is all glass offering you a wonderful view, particularly in the setting sun, of the ‘City of Arts and Sciences’.
Outside there is a large sheltered terrace, where you can have cocktails and snacks… and soon an array of Tapas.

We sat at our table, looking out at the view, and got down to the business of choosing the wine. We settled on a Juan Gil 2013, a fruity and lovely Jumilla (23 euros) and perused the menu.

It’s an eclectic mix of Spanish, World and Oriental dishes. The starters include Oysters, Ceviche, Gyozas and Cannelloni.  Also on offer are Extremadura Bellota hams, cheeses(from here and there, it says on the menu), anchovies and smoked sardines and salads.

We chose Tartar de Atún con aguacate y sesamo (cubed raw tuna marinated in citrus and mixed with avocado and sesame seeds 12.50€) and Tacos de lengua de vaca (four small tortillas topped with stewed-tongue and served with chopped onion and cucumber and wedges of lime 9.00€).

We were debating about whether to share the Ole mis Huevos (an egg poached for 35 minutes at a temperature of 64°C, served on Parmentier potatoes with fresh truffle and a ‘jus’ of pig’s tail and wild mushroom and black Himalayan salt 8.50€).  Our maitre d’ convinced us to have one each, as we had had it on our previous visit.

All three starters were excellent. We particularly liked the Tuna Tartar. We certainly should have shared the egg dish as there was some wonderful bread served too and it was perfect with them, just too much with what was to follow!

And so, on to the main course, a little too full! There are intriguing choices to be made here from Sea bass with hoisin mayonnaise, Make served with beef tendons and a jus of turnips and parsnips or a Thai-style Rockfish all i pebre (all i pebre is a typically Valencians dish usually made with eel), steaks and venison.

D chose the Corvina con crema acidulada y Okra (a Sea Bass steak perfectly cooked and served with a sour cream sauce and Okra 15.00€). I went for the Presa Iberica marinara con miso, shake y mirin con trigo y pesto rojo (two seared wedge-shaped pieces of marinated pork served with a jus of miso, sake mirin, with wheat berries and red pesto 17.00€). Once again, the presentation and quality of the dishes served was excellent, the fish moist and delicious and the pork tender and full of interesting flavour combinations.

I should mention that, this being Valencia, there are a selection or rice and fideua dishes. The rice dishes are all ‘melosos’, which are wetter than a traditional paella. The fideuàs are called Rossejats in Contrapunto. If you want to try the rice or fideua dishes, bear in mind that like all good paellas, there is a minimum order of two persons sharing.

We really did not need a dessert, but soldiered on for your sakes! D had the Requeson de galanga con helado de Romero citrico (a fresh cream cheese flavoured with galangal with a citrussy rosemary ice cream 6.00€). I couldn’t resist the Torrija de Brioche carmelizada (egg dipped Brioche, deep-fried and served with Crème Anglaise – or custard 7.00€). We managed to finish it all, and very delicious it was too.

We noticed on the desserts page of the menu ‘NIÑOS – a jugar de la mesa,’ and asked our maitre to explain. It turned out to be a children’s menu consisting of mini-burgers and home made chicken nuggets, drink and dessert included.

This is the second opening for this excellent restaurant, it first opened two years ago but was forced to close when the outer shell of the opera house had to be renovated. It reopened at the beginning of this year with new chef, Pablo Ministro with new menus, new staff (except for Ionut, our extremely attentive and pleasant maitre d’) and new playlist, featuring quite a lot of Beatles. The management are obviously fans of the fab four -there’s a starter called Octopus Garden, homenaje a The Beatles. We didn’t try it but it is fried octopus with smoked paprika and salsa mery, a sauce made from olive oil, parsley, garlic and lemon juice).

This really is a lovely venue, and the price/quality ratio is excellent. We’ve eaten food that is half as good for a lot more money and with not half as good a view. There will soon be a tapas menu, so you will be able to have a drink and a snack in this lovely part of the City of Arts and Sciences. Book well in advance to avoid disappointment.

Tim Birch

CONTRAPUNTO
Palau de Les Arts Reina Sofia
Av. del Professor López Piñero,1
Zona  46013 (City of Arts & Sciences)
Tel 675365474
www.restaurantecontrapuntolesarts.com

Good wine list with wines from16€.
Open daily for lunch and dinner, except Sunday evenings.

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24/7 Valencia is the definitive English Speaking guide to Valencia. Extensive Listings, up-to-date and informed articles on restaurants, chill out, clubland, football, culture, arts, books, woman and much more.
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