Grazing Spanish Tapas at Joselito in Amsterdam

07/02/2018
Melvyn Teillol-Foo

Joselito Café-Tapas Bar

We read about the history of the establishment’s name inside:

“The best tapas are those you share with friends, picking and choosing from a variety of tempting tidbits – a nibble of this, a bite of that, order as much as you like – that’s what tapas are all about! So, go ahead and give our wines a try – they’ve been specially selected, one by one…truly wine discoveries!”

“Joselito “The Little Boy Wonder” of Spanish cinema who charmed millions during the 1950s, first in Spain, then across the world, with his cheeky smile, big brown eyes and ‘golden voice’. Born to a humble family of peasants, the diminutive Joselito was discovered at the age of six and shot to fame in a series of movies that won the nation’s heart. In his movies were portrayed the romantic Andalusian countryside, a world of warm summer days, where water was drawn from the village well, and plenty of mama’s home cooking in the kitchen.”  © Joselito Cafe-Tapas Bar

Joselito Cafe-Tapas Bar

Joselito Café-Tapas Bar Amsterdam

After a day of sightseeing in Amsterdam, the weary ‘tourista’ is glad to catch sight of Joselito Cafe-Tapas Bar at Nieuwendijk 2 in the city centre. it is an area of bars and close to the sex district.

The Little Red Dot marks the spot….

Joselito at 2 Nieuwendijk

As per Standard Operating Procedure (S.O.P.), we ordered the wine first; after all, this was a wine bar!

Vinem Red (Garnacha & Syrah) Cariñena DO 2016

Central Spain © Ron Edwards

The grape known as Garnacha in Spain and ­ Grenache in southern France, was once known as the “Red of Aragón” and is making a comeback in its birthplace. For decades, the grape suffered as it was farmed as a commodity without regard to yields or quality. The wine oxidised rapidly and the grape’s sensitivity to variations in climate and ‘terroir’ were negativities that could not combat the 1980s European Union-sponsored subsidies to uproot the vines. Fashions changed and now ‘terroir’ is a selling point again.

Esteban Martin Winery

Esteban Martín Winery supplies the un-aged dry red blend of Garnacha and Syrah wine from Cariñena in Aragon. The winery combines the ancient tradition of D.O. Cariñena wines with modern technology. Vineyards at the foothills of Sistema Ibérico highlands, are enveloped by a unique microclimate that provides the grapes with a special and distinctive character. At an altitude of 500 metres above the sea level and on dry, stony soils, the dry climate with extreme temperatures is tempered by the Cierzo, a cold, dry wind.

Vinem Red wine

In the glass, the 13.5% A.B.V. wine is bright ruby red with an intense nose of red fruits and flowers. Immediately attractive with a freshness on palate, the nice sweet tannins provide a gentle finish for an easy drinking wine. Perfect with tapas or cheese or pasta.

 

Tapas

Following the S.O.P., the bread and aoili garlic dip arrived. Taking care not to fracture my dentures, the hard bread was suitably dipped and munched with relish, washed down with that refreshing wine.

Bread and Aoili

Truth be told, the dipping aioli was meant for the calamares fritos but I was content to dip my bread in it for a creamy garlic hit that was enhanced by the fruity wine.

 

Calamares Fritos (Fried Squid)

The fried calamari was served on a bed of tissue paper on a plate that showed the frying skill because there were no oily stains. The thin dusting of flour was rendered into a crispy coat on tender morsels of squid; most yummy! That was to be expected as seafood is so fresh in a city so dependent on its port.

Fried Calamari and Octopus Salad

Ensalada de Pulpo (Octopus Salad)

One of the classic tapas is octopus salad and its preparation catches people out. The proteins of the muscular octopus require one of two cooking methods. Either sliced thinly and sautéed quickly or boiled for hours to achieve tender texture. Anywhere in the middle produces tough flesh. It’s one of the mysteries of cooking. The version at Joselito was minimalist to allow the natural flavours come through. Lightly dressed with a simple vinaigrette dressing, the fresh octopussy taste was enhanced and perfect with the wine.

 

Tabla Joselito (Mixed Cold Tapas)

Tabla Joselito (Mixed Cold Tapas)

[From 12 o’clock] Mixed Potato and Vegetable Salad, Manchego Cheese, Iberico Ham, Anchovies in oil and vinegar, Aubergine and Peppers Pickle, Spiced Eggs and Mixed Olives.

Really, there is no further explanation necessary as these are the fundamentals of tapas cold cuts. All were so good but my favourites were the anchovies and cheese as they really paired well with the wine. In fact, we enjoyed ourselves so much that another bottle of Vinem Red made its way onto our table!

 

Churros and Liquer

Although night-time, I chose churros  — fried-dough pastry — for dessert. It’s usually a breakfast accompaniment to a hot chocolate drink. Just for a lark, I also ordered a banana liquer.

Churros

Therein lies my mistake of the evening. This was the worse churros I’ve ever tasted. Hard on the outside and too chewy inside, it was slightly burned and greasy.

In a word….yuck!

Pisang Ambon liquer

‘Pisang’ means banana in Indonesian Malay and those islands are ex-colonies of the Netherlands, hence its production by the famous Dutch liqueur brand of Bols.

Pisang Ambon

I think this is best left to expert mixologists making fancy cocktails. I chalk this disappointment to the “enjoyable drunken enthusiasm” that got me to this point in the first place!.

 

AlphaLuxe Comment

Joselito Café-Tapas Bar

All things considered for friendly ambience, excellent food, good wine and even the bad churros, Joselito receives the AlphaLuxe Two-Tongues Award.

 

 

Author’s Biography: Melvyn Teillol-Foo (MTF)

Dr Melvyn Teillol-Foo is a contributor on AlphaLuxe web-zine.
He is also a moderator on PuristSPro.com horology discussion fora. He blends his scientific medical objectivity from the pharmaceutical industry with purist passion, in his musings about watches, travel, wine, food and other epicurean delights.
His travelogue ‘Lazing’ and feasting ‘Grazing’ series of articles have now passed into “mythic legend” on the original ‘ThePuristS.com’ website. Those were the halcyon days when he was “rich and famous” that he remembers with bittersweet fondness.

Dr Teillol-Foo is a quoted enthusiast on the watch industry, appearing in feature articles and interviews by Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Sunday Times (London), Chronos (Japan), Citizen Hedonist (France) and other publications. He has authored articles for magazines like International Watch (iW) – both U.S. & Chinese editions, ICON (Singapore), August Man (Singapore), Comfort (China) and The Watch (Hong Kong).