Not only is Abadía Retuerta LeDomaine a 12th century monastery turned five star luxury hotel, is also a temple to gastronomy in the Spanish countryside.
Let’s start with Refectorio, the hotel’s Michelin star restaurant, located in an incredible room that was once the monk’s refectory. With soaring ceilings, Gothic arches and an original 17th century fresco of the Last Supper, it’s incredibly atmospheric and fair to say that it is one of the most impressive dining rooms that I’ve ever eaten in. There’s only ten dining tables so it feels exclusive and special and there’s a certain lofty grandeur associated with dining in such a place.
On the other side of the room is a collection of rare books, some dating back to the monastery’s 12th Century origins. Didn’t I say this place was like a museum?
For tonight’s gastronomic extravaganza we’d be dining from the tasting menu with accompanying wines – starting off with one of Abadía Retuerta’s own white wine. Made mostly with Sauvignon Blanc – my favourite – it’s beautifully citrussy and fresh with a golden colour.
It was three years after opening that Refectorio won it’s Michelin star and with the relatively recent appointment of Chef Marc Segarra the restaurant is clearly going for strength to strength. Having spent ten years working in some of Spain’s best restaurants he is responsible for creating the menu as it is today gaining inspiration from the vineyard and the local, seasonal produce of the area.
Our first two appetisers set the scene for a menu of surprises as our waiter used a custom-made hammer to break into the crunchy bread containing olive oil ice cream. On the side are two delicious morsels of sponge bread flavoured with tomato water. Our menu was actually presented folded up so that guests can choose whether they will be surprised by the dishes or they can take a peek if they want to know what’s to come.
Next comes a delicious Medina del Campo prawn tartare with cayenne pepper accompanied by a pickled quail encased in sugar egg shell – you’re supposed to eat the whole thing. I loved that it came on a little paper nest too!
Next a delicate dish of tomatoes and kombucha, an ingredient I’ve never had before it’s actually a fermented tea – sounds weird but it actually tasted of vinegar and is the perfect balance for the sweet tomatoes.
Jerusalem artichoke, pear, lavender and poultry juice was a lovely dish and not a combination that I’d tried before.
Leek, hazelnut vinaigrette, roasted garlic croquette was both delicious and beautifully presented.
A red wine accompanies our next course and the Abadía Retuerta Special Selection Sardón de Duero is their best know wine worldwide and it’s deliciously fruity with notes of cedar.
The red pairs beautifully with the perfectly cooked cod and rich Iberico tripe sauce – our favourite dish of the evening which surprised me as I wasn’t huge fan of the tripe on my previous trip to Spain. That was partly down to the texture and I found it more palatable in sauce form.
Our meat dish of baby lamb skirt came with sheep milk curd and laurel and was incredibly tender and perfectly cooked.
The cheese course was innovative and beautifully presented – one blue cheese in a little sandwich and the other sheep’s cheese topped with black olive.
Dessert was almost like a deconstructed ice cream of frozen rosemary cream, pine nuts, toffee and honey from the estate’s own bees.
We felt like Lord and Lady of the manor at breakfast which is also served in Refectorio (or in the Cloister garden on hot days) as not only is the room beautiful but the service is seriously excellent. It’s super personal too and the staff even prepare a mini newspaper for each guest with news from their home country and their name printed on the front.
There’s no buffet at breakfast as each dish is prepared and presented with care, but there’s still plenty of choice on the à la carte menu. Every table gets the bakery basket and then there’s a choice of hot and cold dishes some of which have a Spanish twist. I’d definitely recommend the meat selection and the scrambled eggs and smoked salmon to get your day started. Oh and get the hot chocolate – it’s one of the best I’ve ever had.
Chef Marc Segarra also oversees Abadía Retuerta LeDomaine less formal restaurant, Vinoteca. Mr S is a huge fan of rustic, hearty Spanish food and he loved this restaurant located over La Cueva, which has traditionally housed Abadía Retuerta’s private wine collection.
A more cosy, casual space, the walls are lined with wine bottles and once again the menu showcases seasonal produce of the region.
And of course the wine.
For fellow lovers of traditional Spanish food D.O. Guijuelo Ibérico ham with bread and tomato is an absolute must order though I do warn you, this was actually a half portion!
Everything served here was seriously good and you should definitely come with an appetite. We loved the tiger mussels.
And lettuce heart from Tudela de Duero with de-boned chicken wings and medium-dry tomatoes which was a little like a Ceasar salad.
Sea bass carpaccio with leashing of oil was the dish of the day for me.
And main courses of steak tartare with the usual accompaniments and a light dish of hake with vegetables hit all the right notes for us. Especially accompanied with a big bowl of hot crisp fries.
The final dining option in the hotel itself is the Pool Bar which serves informal but utterly delicious food in an al fresco setting.
Once again, I’d be careful with what you order as if you’re expecting small plates – you’ll probably be over ordering! We loved this delicious white fish carpaccio which was super thinly sliced and feather light.
Ham and cheese croqueta are an absolute must and I do believe we had a plate of Spanish ham with every meal!
There’s a open barbecue at the Pool Bar and their skewered lamb dish is the speciality of the house. Honestly I don’t think I’ve ever seen Mr S’s eyes light up so much as when the waiter came over with this huge portion of meat all for us!
You are serious spoilt for choice in terms of dining options at Abadía Retuerta LeDomaine and you never really need to leave but should you want to try a local restaurant, the hotel recommended Mesón los Tres Olmos in Santibáñez for us for lunch.
Honestly, it’s not much to look at from the outside, we even questioned whether the driver had dropped up off at the right place…but inside is cosy and rustic and the food is phenomenal and they have a close relationship with Abadía Retuerta for the wine.
The speciality here is Pinchos De Lechazo al Sarmiento – yup more lamb – it’s a specialty dish of the area. For some one who doesn’t eat a lot of red meat, I ate my fair share of lamb on this trip but it was utterly exquisite with the wood that it’s cooked over giving it that distinctive taste.
Now if I’ve left you in a food coma at the end of this post, I think I’ve done my job correctly. I’m sure you’ll agree that the gastronomic offerings at Abadía Retuerta LeDomaine are completely outstanding with options that appeal to both fine-dining lovers and those looking for honest hearty food. Accompany that with fine wines and service that is both excellent and personal and the perfect picture is well and truly complete.
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Abadía Reuerta LeDomaine
47340 Sardon de Duero
+34 983 680 368
This post is sponsored by Abadía Retuerta LeDomaine.