The philosophy is to combine quality traditional Spanish ingredients with a fresh, artistic and cutting edge presentation
On a sultry night, a couple of the 24/7 Valencia team strolled down the side streets of the historic centre for an evening of fine dining at the eye-catching ‘Viva Mascaraque friendly kitchen’, which is now very well established in the city. It is an interesting concept; the philosophy is to combine quality traditional Spanish ingredients with a fresh, artistic and cutting edge presentation.
The dignified, 19th century listed building is very spacious and set on two floors with three rooms; we opted for the more intimate lounge room upstairs, which also serves as a private sala for businesses for dining and presentations. Downstairs you will find a long barroom with high chairs and high tables for couples as you enter. This leads onto a much larger, more formal room at the back. This is quality dining in an understated way, which overall reflects the rather discreet and cultured crowd it seems to be attracting…
Their charming Spanish chef, José Luis García-Mascaraque, has over 30 years of experience in making your visit memorable and has worked in both the Restaurante Goya of the Ritz Hotel of Madrid and Harrods of London. Co- owner Reyes Real was our kindly and helpful host of this special tapas bar. She tells us that the ratio is 60% Spanish to 40% foreign clients. Without exception, we found all of the staff welcoming and most informed about ingredients of the cuisine and the choice of wines to an extent you do not always encounter in Valencia. This is a place run by connoisseurs…
We opted for a menu degustación at 26€ (drink not included) to get a real feel of the cuisine on offer. This consisted of six different dishes, each presented on eye- catching plates or distinctive bowls that had a touch of the vintage about them. Indeed, the design of the interior of Viva Mascaraque is a touch rustic and peaceful yet somehow quietly modern, too.
To accompany our meal, we opted for a delightful ‘Mar de So’ 2011, a Valencian red wine for 15€, which was quite intense with plenty of body and it lasted us the whole evening. Their wine cellar has a good selection of 60 red, white, rosé and sweet wines from different regions of Spain to complement your meal. Prices for a bottle begin from 10€…
We started proceedings with a beautifully presented ‘Higado de pato en micuit con espuma de cerveza Turia’, which was a top quality, semi-cooked duck liver paté accompanied by a handful of popcorn and lightly covered in a tasty local craft beer. It made for a pleasant introduction to the night’s dining. By the way, their three types of tasty home-made artisan breads (2.75€) are prepared on the premises using the nest ours…
Next up was ‘Ensaladilla marinera con mojama de segura y coco de lino’ which was a very, very fresh Russian salad with top quality salted tuna combined with a linseed coconut giving it a distinctive tang. We enjoyed the crunchy wafers, too! We then moved onto ‘Gambas frescas al ajillo con su pan de gambas’, which were magnificent stripped headless prawns in a pleasant garlic sauce.
Probably the most artistic presentation was the next dish, ‘Bravas con berberechos’, three crunchy skinned potatoes accompanied by cockles delivered on a rectangular little tray each with a different sauce, including a light curry, a pistachio sauce and a spicy red salsa. The bravas had a light, fluffy feel and the sauces were subtle so as not to distract from the main ingredients.
Our final course was a ‘Secreto de Ibérico con copos de su corteza y cremoso de manteca colorá’. This was filling bowl, combining quality rinds of pork with delicious Spanish ham as a topping and a red lard sauce typical of Andalusia.
By this point we were quite sated but for the sake of our readers we enjoyed a dessert of ‘Piña crujiente al brandy con chocolate’ which was a very fresh crunchy pineapple (freshness being a trademark of the chef) in brandy with a chocolate sauce. It was beautifully presented in an indigo-coloured bowl and a refreshing end to a visually enjoyable and filling course of tapas from around Spain. Incidentally, the courses change every week so be prepared to be pleasantly surprised…
This is an upmarket and welcoming place, popular with an educated crowd and great for couples and groups looking for quality in relation to price, and somewhere with an historical & distinctive interior and truly excellent service from the staff.
Viva Mascaraque friendly kitchen
C/ Santo Tomás, 18
Tel: 96 064 93 35
Facebook VIVA Mascaraque
Tapas: 5€ – 18€
Midday rice dish: 8€
Carta Menú Degustación: 22€ – 36€
Menu of the day (weekdays): 15€
Children’s Menu: 12€
Open Tuesday – Saturday
12.00h – 16.00h, 20.00h – 01.00h
12.00h – 16.00h