They called her ‘Ena’ – King Alfonso XIII’s new wife, the grand-daughter of Queen Victoria, was a surprising member of the Spanish court. A British Anglican she was recognised for her femininity, beauty and modern attitude. One couldn’t imagine a greater contrast with Alfonso – yet the match worked perfectly.
Ena is the inspiration of this innovative new eatery within the grand Hotel Alfonso XIII, where the sophistication of Abellan’s classic dishes perfectly match the fun, and sexy tapas culture of Andalucia. Ena’s modern, approachable style is the perfect foil to Hotel Alfonso’s grandness and formality.
(Typical dish at Ena – photo Juan Delgado)
Even before the lunchtime presentation and evening party, there was plenty of food-themed fun, with an edible invitation, then picnic snacks delivered to my room, echoing Ena’s weekly picnic nights on the terrace.
At lunch time, Carles personally presented the menu; a delicious collection of tapas and sharing plates that reflect a culinary fusion of Andalusian and Catalan styles.
The restaurant manager and acclaimed sommelier Rafa Bellido brought to the table a delectable range of dishes to try including cubes of refreshing watermelon, flavoured with orange, lemon and mint; calamari with saffron; tasty and easy-to-eat boneless chicken wings with Korean sauce; wonderful smoked salmon tartar with its own caviar; salt cod fritters with honey and lemon; sardines served in a tin with raspberries and pistachio; ceviche style cockles in a tin; Russian salad with cured tuna loin (mojama) and miniature bowls of salmorejo, and to finish Ena’s ‘chocolate, pan, aceite y sal’ – chocolate fondant, glossy with oil and enhanced with a touch of flaky sea salt and served with delicate, tiny bread wafers.
(Ceviche de gambas de Huelva con aguacate y cebolla tierna – photo Juan Delgado)
We toasted the project with a red vermouth cocktail with orange foam, a taste of Cataluña, served by Ena’s sommelier and bar tender, Antonio Naranjo.
Presentation of the food is modern and fun, and the flavours are fresh, innovative yet sophisticated. Classics tapas which one might be familiar with are given a new dimension in taste with clever use of spices or fresh citrus. The beauty of Ena is that the dishes are for sharing or are bite sized tapas, so perfect to order with friends for a sociable lunch, after work snack or relaxed dinner.
(right to left: Carles Abellan, Rafa & Antonio)
The inside bar and restaurant and outside terrace are elegantly and simply decorated with solid wood tables with tiled tops – the colour is deep blue, a clever reference to the Ena’s family’s Royal colour, and also, by chance the colour of a Andalusian fan which her father brought back for her as a gift from a Royal visit to Seville.
(Interior of Ena)
The outside terrace has a clean, Californian aesthetic.
(Terrace of Ena)
Despite the Royal references throughout the hotel and this restaurant, there are no formal, stuffy design at Ena – no table cloths or strict table settings. Instead the cutlery comes in a wooden box and dishes are served on large wooden boards. All the elements combine to make the space relaxed, contemporary and stylish.
The diverse menu is well priced and together with the modern style and friendly team, the new project is sure to attract a different cosmopolitan crowd to the hotel, making the property more accessible than ever, and a more dynamic part of the city’s social and gastronomic scene.
Phone: (+ 34) 954 91 71 60
(Classic, formal lobby of the Alfonso XIII – Seville’s Grand Hotel)
(Carles Abellan at Tuesday’s launch party)
(You can read my piece on ENA in TOUT Magazine here)
I was hosted by Starwood Hotels but this has not influenced my piece. Please bear in mind that this site and my articles are intended as entertainment only and not a definitive resource for purchasing decisions. Before making any travel or purchasing decision I recommend that you seek as much information as possible from various sources including review sites, guide books and other blogs. If you act based on my writing you do so at your own risk. If you wish to add anything to this piece, simply comment using the WordPress or Facebook plug-in.