You know that a lunch is good when you sit for hours scoffing even when your trouser belt begins to perform the function of a gastric band.
Such was the afternoon I spent at El Borracho de Oro lazily sipping red wine and oloroso and nibbling a variety of courses unable to decide which I liked best.
It’s a restaurant to which I’d not returned since soon after its opening eight months ago and now I’m scratching my head and asking why.
For this is wonderful authentic Spanish food – well-crafted, well-conceived refined rustic fare.
The charming Spanish staff are attentive, informed and friendly.
Dishes that might be unfamiliar in a city that’s unused to proper Iberian cuisine are explained concisely but in detail.
Being a trusting sort of guy, I asked for dishes of which the chef was particularly proud.
My faith was repaid for – though the dishes were many and various – all hit the target with their bold flavours and textures.
Mussels had been cooked precisely so that they remained apricot-hued and yielding and came in an hazlenut-based sauce not unlike a tamed-down romesco sauce,
Croquetas de Jamon Ibercio – snappy Iberian ham in an oozing bechamel encased in a crisp coating – were a joy.
But among the contenders for the Dish of the Day was Fideua de Marsico – a seafood combo similar to paella but made with Catalan noodles. It had incredible depth of flavour.
It was rivalled by Fabada Asturiana – a traditional stew from Asturias, made with enormous butterbeans, chorizo, morcilla and pancetta.
Lechazo Asado featured tender, slow-cooked roasted milk-fed lamb with a rich sauce and slow-cooked ox-tail came with with sweet potato puree and shallots
A tonka bean Crema Catalana was luxurious, sweet and a fine end to the meal.
Unsurprisingly, Spanish beers and wines dominate the list. There are also ciders, cocktails, liquors and spirits. Wines kick in at £17 a bottle.
Need to know
Tapas are priced from between £6 and £12 for a speciality such as roast suckling lamb.
Go cheaper by choosing the £6.95 lunch tapas menu.
Vegetarian options are available.
The place is child-friendly and disabled-friendly.
El Borracho de Oro
Harborne Court, Harborne Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 3BU. 0121 454 5368.