CURRY IN THE CAMPO

We all know the natural pleasures that can be had in the campo around Competa; walking and hiking, mountain biking, horse riding to name but a few. But now there is another option on the borders of the parque natural. Curry!

Alright, I know it's not really an activity but it's certainly a very attractive pleasure that can now be enjoyed at Finca los Pinos. I'm sure curry lovers all have their favourite curry restaurant on and around the coast but now for residents around Competa there's another option.

Finca los Pinos, for those who are not familiar with it, is a bed and breakfast business run by David and Sara Mills made up of a villa, small casitas and log cabins situated on the border of the parque natural as you enter it at the 'helipad' towards El Acebuchal. David and Sara are now offering curry nights twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays. Debbie and I were lucky enough to be invited along for a tasting evening with two other friends and a number of other invited guests. Curry in the campo only 10 minutes from our home – bring it on.

We arrived at Finca los Pinos and as it was just before Christmas we were greeted with a glass (or two) of mulled wine. The table was set up in the sun room adjacent to the main villa. David was busy in the kitchen putting the finishing touches to the curries before we were invited to take out seats. The setting was warm and welcoming with no sign of red, flock-patterned wallpaper awful Indian music. The curries on offer to try were a pork vindaloo, southern Indian coconut chicken curry, a Thai beef massaman curry, an aloo gobi and a South African bunny chow.

Before we got stuck into the curries we were served with poppadoms accompanied with mango chutney, homemade raita and a harisa based chutney. As if that wasn't enough we were then brought a spicy mango soup, which was delicious.

The curries were served with rice and pitta bread and unsurprisingly I managed to have a try of them all. I do like my curry spicy so my first try was the vindaloo. It wasn't too hot but it had a good spice to it and the flavour was clean. Sometimes with hot, spicy curries the spice takes over and other flavours are lost but not with this one. It had enough spice to satisfy lovers of hot curry without the gee taste you can get which masks the other flavours. The meat was tender, it almost melted in your mouth.

The Thai beef massaman curry was a more runny curry and ideally should be eaten with rice in the juice of the curry, but who needs to stand on ceremony. It was just as good however eaten and again the meat was very tender. Onto the Southern Indian coconut curry. (Burp!) As expected, this was a milder curry with a rich coconut sauce. I'm not a great fan of richer curries but this one hit the spot.

As the name suggests the South African bunny chow derives from David's native country and I can say no rabbits were hurt in the process. It originates from the Indian population of Durban in South Africa and traditionally should be served in a hollowed out bread loaf. It was the way in which the Indian population of Durban carried out their take-away curries; edible packaging. This had a different spice and was a bean based curry, which traditionally can contain chicken, lamb or pork. A very different curry experience.

Plenty of wine and beer was on offer to accompany the meal. This is a great place to go with friends and enjoy a very local curry experience. David and Sara are excellent hosts so what are you waiting for? Get down there and enjoy a local curry with excellent hosts.

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