We went for lunch at this new venture of brothers and partners Willy and Jaime on Friday. Valencian resident D, myself and P on a flying visit from cold and dank London. It wasn’t quite warm enough when we arrived to sit on their ample terrace, so we took a table on one of the many rooms inside…
This room had four tables, one of which was already occupied by two couples who were sharing a large salad and an excellent looking Sepia a la Plancha (Grilled Squid). Our servers were Desire and Antony, both extremely friendly and attentive. Desire suggested that we went for the Arroz Melozo de Pato y Setas (Soupy Rice with Duck and Wild Mushroom). Way back in 2005, we had a small flat in the Barrio del Carmen in one of those little backstreets overlooking the remains of the original Moorish walls of the city. Soon after ensconcing ourselves in there, a new restaurant opened its doors. That restaurant was Yuso, which very quickly gained a reputation for great food – particularly their rices – of which the Melosos seemed to be held in the greatest reverence. The restaurant soon became one of our firm favourites. Let’s jump forward some 11 years and Yuso is still regularly busy and still has a great reputation…so much so that they have taken the plunge and taken on a second, much bigger branch in Plaza Carmen, just around the corner.
Once an Argentinian grill, this multi-roomed restaurant has been tastefully refurbished and is just open for business. The formula is just the same as its original sister restaurant but the fact that it used to be an Argentinian grill means that, if you order their excellent meats, they are char-grilled here.
Now to the Rice. Meloso means honey like in texture – there is also a Caldoso which is soupier. This came as part of a 16.50€ menu which included three starters to share – a tapes of the ubiquitous Patatas Bravas (fried potatoes with alioli and a hot sauce), Esalada de Cabra, pasas y nueces con miel (a goat’s cheese salad with sultanas, walnuts and a honey-balsamic dressing) and thinly sliced Jamón Serrano on Pan Catalan (Pan Catalan is toasted bread with grated tomato and olive oil – so delicious!) All were excellent, and the portions generous.
Then came the star of the show: ‘The Duck and Mushroom Rice.’ I actually prefer an Arroz Meloso to a normal Paella (try a Paella Valenciana as a Meloso – delicious!) A large, bubbling cauldron was bought to the table filled with a huge and delightful amount of this lovely dish – not only was it positively awash with duck and wild mushrooms but artichoke hearts as well. Anyone who reads my columns will know I adore artichokes – particularly the smaller Valencian ones – one of the bonuses of the winter season.
There was really too much for the three of us to be able to finish. It was, however, a fine Meloso and lived up to Yuso’s reputation for excellent rice. There were several postres (Desserts) on offer – we ordered two between the three of us – A Blackcurrant Cheesecake and a Polvito Uruguayo (something new to me, crumbled oreos, thick cream and dulce de leche – very nice). We had a very good House Ribera del Duero – Lagunero (10€ a bottle)
When I spoke to Willy, one of the brothers, I asked him why he had opened this new branch he is reasoning was really soon – they wanted to give more people the opportunity to try their food. The elder Yuso is often fully booked. I know this to my cost as we have tried to get a table on numerous occasions in the past and have been unable to!
Book now, to avoid disappointment – you won’t regret it.
Plaza del Carmen
Tel: 96 392 2448
Calle de la Cruz, 4
Tel: 96 315 3967
The Plaza del Carmen branch opens every day for lunch and dinner.
Yuso at Calle de la Cruz opens Fridays, Saturday and Sundays only.
Menu del día Weekdays 9.50€ – Starter, rice – choice of four, Dessert, Bread and Alioli and Coffee – drinks extra
Menu del día Weekends 16.50€ – Starter, Salad, rice – choice of six, Dessert, Bread and Alioli and Coffee – drinks extra.
The ‘A la Carte’ has a huge selection of Rices, Fideuas and Melosos. There are a great selection of Meats cooked on the char grill (next time!). There is a smallish but very reasonably priced wine list, average prices around the 10€-14€ mark a bottle.
They are happy to cater for groups and, in fact, have four rooms perfect for groups of various sizes – 9, 16, 18 and 25 people.