La Carbona, Jerez

First course, second course, and advanced course in matching sherry to food in a smart but not stuffy setting and all for a very reasonable price. This is quintessential Jerez dining; the extensive menu majors on fish and pork and it’s served in an old bodega, but chef owner Javier Muñoz uses local ingredients with flair, creating dishes that have an original edge, that are not only delicious but surprising and inspiring – although good luck trying to recreate any of it at home.

Famously, many items of the menu make good use of sherry, but it’s in the meticulous matching of each course with specific sherries from specific bodegas where La Carbona excels. Put your faith in the sommelier and you will be richly rewarded. To accompany the turbot with mint, cashew, spinach and red onion, for example, a glass of amontillado was recommended – not just any amontillado, but of the dozen possibles, a Lustau Botaina. Who knew? Really it’s a kind of alchemy – wine and food sparkle together to create a beautiful taste fusion. I’ve also tried the mini black puddings with roast peppers and apple purée, and the mini-hamburger of boar (boarburger?) with mango, both with the perfect oloroso. Now obviously I need to make around 50 repeat visits to see what fino to serve with artichokes, and whether Pedro Ximenez really works with anything other than chocolate pudding.

One way around that is to fast for several days, and then try the tasting menu. Which is currently as follows, and priced at a very reasonable €32 / head.

Pastel de Caballa en escabeche de vinagre de Jerez, foié, cebolla morada y manzana. Maridada con Palo Cortado

Alcachofas salteadas con langostinos y vino Fino. Maridada con Amontillado.

Pescado deldía, tallarines de espinacas y puré de guisantes. Maridada con Fino en rama.

Chuletón de vaca de Cantabria. Maridado con Oloroso.

Helado de queso con coulis de frambuesa y coral de vino Fino. Maridado con Medium.

Calle San Francisco de Paula, 2, Jerez de la Frontera. T: +34 956 34 74 75. Open Wednesday- Monday 12.30-4.30pm & 8pm-12.30am (Closed July).;