casa naranjo

Casa Naranjo
Barracks Passage, Wyle Cop, Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY1 1XA
01743 588 165
A fleeting visit to Shrewsbury in very late November saw Katharine and I wandering down the medieval cobblestoned lanes of Shrewsbury towards this new little tapas bar for a reunion lunch. As we reached the door leading to the upstairs restaurant, we spied a band having a photo shoot a little further up the lane. They stood one behind the other, some wielding instruments (if you can wield a double bass) and others striking a pose. A photographer directed their actions from slightly higher ground. By their stance they looked a bit weary, as if they had been at this for some time and the novelty had worn off. Wonder who they were?

On a Wednesday winter’s afternoon Casa Naranjo was not busy, but the staff were welcoming. Two men, clearly related in some way to the business, ate and talked at a larger table at the back of the restaurant, whilst a lone lady lunched alone with a book nearby. We settled in, ordered two Spanish reds by the glass and starting examining the menu.

Weekday lunchtimes and Monday evenings offer a two-page listing of two tapas for £5, and we didn’t need to go beyond the choices there although the a la carte selection also looked tempting. Katharine  is a vegetarian so our choices reflected that for the most part.

Patatas mixtas (alright, we ordered two of these over the afternoon…) were perfectly cooked however the spicy sauce was a little too full of capsicum for me. Garbanzos (chickpeas) cooked with spinach, Seville-style were just divine. The spicy lentils with vegetables were also a favourite. The dressed Zamorano cheese was just lovely but I think a little too much, especially given that we used the generous basket of fresh bread to help us eat it. It was our gluttony, rather than the cheese, that was at fault. I threw in a tapa of butterbeans with chorizo and onion as token meat-eater, and Katharine ordered the croquettes of the week: cheesy garlicky mouthfuls of heaven.

The bill was just £31 for two, including three glasses of wine which amounted to just under £10. We were stuffed for the afternoon, and in fact I didn’t eat for the rest of the day. The food was great, and the service was lovely, very friendly but on a couple of occasions a little vague: given how quiet the restaurant was, we assumed we had the new guy who was just finding his feet. Indeed, it turned out he had just moved over from near Barcelona to work there.

Definitely a place to return to, especially on a Monday night for a cheap and enjoyable dinner.

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