Emperor Gravy is back! This, and for very much hopefully the final time this year on the Costa Del Sol (no offence but London is calling), at The Spinning Goat in Fuengirola.
Yep, the return that absolutely nobody demanded.
Re-call me Dave. Except I’m not in the UK right now, I’m all international – or at least in this colonised bit of España anyway.
Recuérdame Pedro. Does this translate well into Spanish? Are there any Spanish people reading? Do you have a hot friend looking for a fat English bloke who writes about roast dinners around the world? Think of all the travel opportunities, the glory and the gravy.
Yep, Pedro is back – well, he never went away, even if my mere presence in Malaga was enough to frighten him into staying inside a government building for hours. But now he has a government…and I’m reliably, ahem, informed by some casual bystanders that he is a Hamas terrorist supporter, hates the EU, hates USA, is a communist, yadda yadda. I was quite curious about the protest march with the equivalent of Spanish Tories waving some EU flags too.
Apparently Pedro Sanchez is also head of a corrupt government, and there used to be a time when us British could go, “well look at you with your corrupt governments in southern Europe”, but, well, Michelle Mone, Matt Hancock’s landlord, Matt Hancock’s lamplighter, Matt Hancock’s linotype operator, Matt Hancock’s elevator operator…we’ve even recorded our lowest score on the Transparency International scale. Still ahead of España in the league table though.
I was going to suggest, “if only people were as enthralled by the Transparency International league as the Premier League”, but then Qatar would just buy top position anyway. Guess I’m not now reviewing a roast dinner in Qatar. Yes, you can actually get one at Shehrazad Lounge Bar & Terrace.
And every single review is 5 stars. I shit you not. Road trip?
The Lying Politicians
So here I was back in the Costa Del Sol. Re-call me gravy.
Why Fuengirola? I didn’t need to be here at all. I was amazed at quite how stereotypical of the Costa Del Sol it was. Lots of older people. Lots of crap beer. Lots of Britishness. Lots of glorious sunshine – it was almost hot, in the latter part of November. It reminded me of Scarborough in June. In a good June.
In my vain hope for a slightly more interesting beer than Cruzcampo, I stumbled across a Dutch bar, hoping that maybe I’d find some Dutch/Belgium beers, so I asked the guy running it if he had any. “Got a couple, mate, Stella Artois from Belgium, and Heineken from Netherlands. But I’m not open until 2, mate”. Phew. No need to be polite.
In the end I plumped for sitting in the sun outside a bar called Groove, which I vaguely hoped (lol) might be more interesting – it was quieter than the other bars. San Miguel was my reluctant choice. And for some reason everyone sat pointing the opposite way to me – not entirely sure why but I turned around at one point to see someone impersonating Faustino Asprilla, and then went back to my memoir from Rory Stewart. I didn’t hide the book cover, like I did the the one I read about David Cameron’s time in Number 10, of which I studiously always placed the front face down. Bloody boring book too. Why did I read it? Because I bought it years ago and therefore it needed completing.
Obviously I was working up an appetite, ready for my incoming soft vegetables.
After a week of staying in Malaga, hmmm hot Spanish women, I was supposed to be heading back to London to move into my new flat. Alas, multiple people fucked up, and I had absolutely no choice other than to extend my stay in the sunshine. Oh well. Sorry, mum. I know I could have rented an Airbnb in Hull. I’ll see you at Christmas though.
Alas, I’m also running out of money, so I headed back to Benalmádena to stay there for a week, as the apartments are half the price of Malaga/Cordoba, and there’s nowhere I want to eat, so I’ll save money and cook for myself, with zero herbs or seasoning so I can be like the locals.
There being nowhere I want to eat in Benalmádena, also stood when it came to roast dinners. I could have walked 30 minutes downhill with my suitcase to Wigan Bar La Isla, or whatever it is called, just for a laugh – their roast looks, erm, interesting. And I would have enjoyed writing the review. But then I’d also have to walk 15 minutes back uphill with my suitcase. Heavy suitcase.
Instead, I stayed on the train for a few more stops, and walked 8 minutes to The Spinning Goat, which seemed, from photographs, like it might do a respectable roast dinner. And it wasn’t busy – which around here, is a good sign. At least to pretentious remoaner boy here.
The Swivelling Roast Dinner Reviewers
Like most places on the Costa Del Sol, The Spinning Goat is a simple bar – plastic seating, basic tables, a retractable roof, some sofas outside – and it faces either the marina, or a wall, depending on your view. I chose the wall, which was also the direction of the sun.
Beef, chicken or pork were available at €11.95, or the lamb at €13.95. Beef is a no-go for me at these kind of places, and especially at these low prices. I asked the waitress for her favourite, hoping that she wasn’t a vegetarian, which was lamb – and I decided I was willing to believe her.
10 minutes later…
You’ve already seen the basic vegetables, and you tend to have a choice in the Costa Del Sol – soft vegetables or very soft vegetables.
The Spinning Goat managed to at least make them not too mushy – all the vegetables were either boiled or steamed but at least they kept their shape.
So the vegetables may have been too soft, but this is a country where vegetables on a menu are generally MIA, a bit like Rishi Sunak at PMQs. No, I don’t have a Spanish government analogy. Hang on – how about the Catalonian politicians that Pedro Sanchez needed to form a government…they were MIA. Can I say that? Can I get away with that? And you thought UK politics was grubby – Pedro Sanchez having to hand an amnesty to political leaders that had tried to illegally gain independence a few years back, just to have a government. That’s like beyond-Johnson.
Anyway, you can go to pretty much any tapas place here, and try to look for something with vegetables, and be like, “oooh there’s a salad…with octopus’, “oooh there’s some courgettes…with jamon”. The Spanish don’t seem to like vegetables – at least not in restaurants, and without meat on the same fork. Sure you could just go to a vegan restaurant, but then vegans have non-vegan friends. Sometimes.
The Spinning Politicians
Anyway anyway, all the vegetables were soft, with minimal flavour – but that didn’t matter because of the gravy. More on that later. Oooh! Carrots, broccoli and cauliflower…oh and some cabbage but I didn’t bother eating it. And, yes, I love cabbage. Anyway.
We had cauliflower cheese too. Soft and mushy – no shock there, but also it tasted rather cheesy, if sweetly so, and was notably creamy. Decent.
5 small roast potatoes, possibly deep-fried rather than roasted but they actually had crispy sides so that’s a win. These are quite possibly patatas bravas on a Monday.
I don’t think I managed to photograph it clearly, but we also had a fair mound of mashed potato – and to call it a mound feels a tad unfair, as it was actually quite prettily decorated. I was about to accuse them of doing it for Insta, but they don’t seem to have an account. They do have a Facebook page though. I did speak to someone who runs a bar near here, and he said that Facebook was their main way of marketing over here. Kinda figures. Anyway, I enjoyed the mash, soft, creamy and it looked pretty – it even had a fragment of a herb on top.
The Yorkshire pudding was excellent. Large, a little crispy on the outside, soft on the bottom – this was as good a Yorkshire pudding as I’ve had all year in London – perhaps the best Yorkshire pudding I’ve had all year. Wow.
The lamb – well, it was pretty well done, as one expects now in British bars abroad. But overcooked lamb is preferable to overcooked beef by some way, it was thinly sliced and fairly flavoursome too. The Dutch waitress, who I kept saying “gracias” to even though it was clear she wasn’t Spanish, was fair in recommending it to me. Also I should mention service was good throughout – I felt welcomed, and everything arrived promptly, which is more than can be said for some places…hey London…yes I am excited to pay £28 a roast dinner again.
There was very little stuffing, but there was a bit – and it was a joyful two small mouthfuls, very much pork sausage meat, it seemed good quality too.
And finally, the gravy.
Confirming good gravy. A heartening level of consistency to it, I didn’t detect any over-saltiness which can be a omen of granules – it seemed to be a proper homemade meat-stock kinda gravy. I really rated it.
The Spinning Goat
Gosh. There was some compliments in there.
I actually don’t mind it here in the Costa Del Sol – it sure feels like I’ve stepped into a Wetherspoons sometimes…most of the time, at least when there is any people around. But it’s sunny in November and I have found some half-decent roast dinners. Including at The Spinning Goat.
Of course, we have overcooked meat and over-boiled/steamed vegetables, though not quite as much as Fadó Irish Bar and Grill in Benalmádena.
However – the best yorkie of 2023 (in a foreign country, no less), a little joyous stuffing and some pretty delightful gravy. Whilst sat in the warm sunshine, drinking €3.00 red wine – I’m not sure what is going to shock me more when I get back to London this weekend; it being 5’C or £15.00 for a glass of wine.
Alas, good things come to an end, as does this roast dinner review. Perhaps a little presumptuous of me there…if it were really “good” then I’d have more than 5 readers.
My score for The Spinning Goat in Fuengirola is a healthy 7.30 out of 10, which makes it the best roast dinner in the world so far! Outside of the UK, of course, and with only 6 places reviewed. Chill out, I intend to upset Greta more next year and get on aeroplanes solely with the purpose of having a Sunday roast.
I’ll be back in 2024. Peace out, Costa Del Sol fans.
Yeah. No filter. I’m an adult.