Test Driving Culler de Pau - a restaurant on the edge of Galicia where location is everything

diningroomIt's hard not to gawp at the sun going down over the sea in the background in the beautiful dining room where the view and the food are all the decoration you need.

So what do we need to know about Culler de Pau?

Culler de Pau is the Galician restaurant run by chef Javier Olleros. The son of a chef and a hotel owner, he trained in Madrid, Bilbao, San Sebastián with top chefs including Martín Berasategui, Marcelo Tejedor and Toñi Vicente before opening his own restaurant which is, this year, celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Where exactly is it?

The restaurant is a superb minimalist building, overlooking the Arousa estuary high in the North West corner of Galicia on the peninsula of O Grove. Just a 40-minute drive from the nearest airport at Santiago de Compostela, the peninsula is a total delight. It's all dune beaches, pine woods and some amazingly good restaurants - with Culler de Pau and renowned seafood spot D'Berto the very best of a great bunch. We were just overnighting here but have already made a vow to return.

What makes the restaurant special?

Apart from its jaw-dropping location? Honestly, we and most of the other guests had to tear ourselves away from watching the sunset over the sea - the dining room has floor to ceiling glass windows that make the most of the amazing views.

They also have a pretty amazing-sized kitchen garden, growing all manner of herbs and vegetables for the restaurant and as you look out over the bay you can see the mussel, oyster and scallop farms - so you know the seafood couldn't be any fresher.

diningroomChef Javier in his kitchen garden

Key to Javier's kitchen ethos here is that connection to the land and sea. "We're in a magical land - we have a lot of excellent resources here," he told us, boasting that much of what they cook comes from less than a kilometre away. Their commitment to using organic, local ingredients has also moved towards closing the circle on any food waste too - if you're looking for ultra sustainable food in extraordinary setting, this is it.

So what kind of food should we expect?

There are two menus, a six-course Menu Ronsel for 75€ (30€ drinks matching) and a 13-course Menu Descbuberta for 110€ (50€ drinks matching). Honestly - if you're coming all this way, you might as well go all out, particularly if our meal was anything to go by. Here's a selection of the standout dishes from our meal.

diningroomPickled celery root, San Simon cheese and wheat toast.

diningroomAsparagus from the sea and land - Javi and the team spotted the sea asparagus while foraging down by the shore recently and wanted to bring it into the menu.

diningroomOrganic Galician Cachena's veal with spicy herbs - the last farmer with these special breed cattle was about to stop production until the restaurant got involved.

diningroomVilanova's onion with smoked broth and spiced oil - looks simple, tastes anything but.

diningroomMackerel escabeche with carrot and chervil (unbilled sunset in background).

14 spinachSpinach with three soups - all layered on top of each other, served with pork shoulder, kombu and tomato

diningroomScallops from down in the bay, served with padron pepper seeds

diningroomVeal tendon and callos - the tendon is fried and dried and then you add it into the traditional 'stew' to provide that glutinous consistency.

diningroomThe final 'cheese' course - featuring local cheese with carrot, celery, cucumber and nasturtium.

What's the wine pairing like?

Well for starters it's not just wine - we really enjoyed a glass of Malus Mama - a Galician ice cider made by Iñaki Otegi with some of the courses. Most of what was chosen was ultra-local - so expect to see some gorgeous wines from the Rias Baixas region on the list.

Overall thoughts

When you think that really in under three hours from Stansted you could be sitting at a table here for dinner, it's hard to work out why (other than budget) you're still sitting in London reading this. Go and make a long weekend of it (here's our guide on where else to eat and drink there) - you won't be disappointed.

Hot Dinners were invited to Culler de Pau. Prices are correct at the time of writing. 


More about Culler de Pau

Where is it? Calle Reboredo, 73, 36980 O Grove, Pontevedra, España

How to book: Book online here

Find out more: Visit their website or follow them on Instagram @cullerdepau


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