Posted on Wed 01 February 2012
So again, I’ll try to translate dishes as good as possible, now with the help of a site recommended to me by Elke. For the German names, see the footnotes.
After another round of pressing information out of my semi-cooperative friends and colleagues I had a new restaurant to try. Several actually, but this post is about Torona which I was referred to by David. You’ll want to visit their site. They have pictures.
Torona’s menu is extremely small or should I say “focused”? There are indeed quite few options on the card aside from their main specialty: “Pinchos” are their primary means of attracting people. These are little pieces of meat or seafood on skewers priced between 4€ and 7€ each and a medium amount would be two or three of them. And my, are they delicious…
I went there on a Monday evening at about 18:00 (maybe a bit earlier) together with Alex. When we initially entered the restaurant after having passed it before due to my uncanny inability to locate it even using Google Maps it was rather empty. I’m still not sure how we missed it. It’s on the Färberplatz in Graz. I’m sure there were at most three other tables in use and that’s few, considering that Torona has two floors. Not really two floors though, but a front area more suited to have a quick drink and grab a little aperitif and a bigger room further back. To enter this room you descend a flight of stairs and arrive in a room that accommodates about 8 tables (also bigger since this is seems to be the dedicated dinning area). The decoration is tasteful and in my opinion the restaurant was clean too. Also I realized as I sat down the bench and the provided pillow were extraordinarily comfortable. Alex probably thought I was crazy when I stopped mid-speak to test the pillow again. Anyway, I’m rambling. I was positively surprised when looking at the drinks on offer since they have non-alcoholic cocktails. I have to admit, I’m really easily drawn to a bar that offers good mocktails. Of course I had to order a Virgin Mojito since I enjoy the sour taste combined with a little sweetness from sugar. Alex had some kind of white wine. Sorry, I can’t help you with alcoholic beverages.
However, Alex wants me to add they served it without water. He had to order that separately.
For a short moment I thought about having a soup but a glance in my wallet told me that I wouldn’t have soup this time. I ordered lamb steak with vegetables and potatoes with herbs as well as pork filet with plums mantled in Serano ham1 while Alex had the Lomo de Pata Negra skewer2.2 of them to be precise. Also in case you’re wondering: That is a special kind of pig that, according to the menu is the most expensive pig on the planet.
When someone on a table orders pinchos the waiter serves a long wooden tablet with five glasses on it. They contain different kinds of dips that are a perfect fit to the pinchos.
- Alioli is a kind of mayonnaise with garlic. (my favorite)
- The Andalusian sauce is based on hot bell pepper and tomatoes.
- The lingonberry sauce3 has an interesting and nice touch of cinnamon to it. (interesting, but didn’t quite taste that great with my meat)
- The green pesto contains olives and parsley4. (I can’t quite put my finger on it but this didn’t taste good at all though it was good to have a completely different kind of flavor as well.)
- The tomato salsa is especially interesting since it isn’t hot as hell just a bit spicy and not aggressive at all. I was surprised because I expected it to be unbelievably hot but the surprise was rather pleasant, I might add. (if it wasn’t for the Alioli this would’ve been my favorite)
Unfortunately I forgot to check how long we waited for our food to appear but on the other hand I didn’t feel the necessity due to having company and the waiter being pleasantly friendly. When our dishes arrived I first tasted the vegetables and the lamb and both were extraordinary. Everything was seasoned rather strongly and that’s a plus in my opinion. Even the dressing of the little bit of salad was tasty - and I admit I wouldn’t even have realized if Alex hadn’t mentioned it. Interestingly the pinchos weren’t on the plate itself but on white bread that slowly sucked in the fat and spices - a great idea.
After all I wouldn’t choose the Torona if I was extremely hungry and looking for a big meal. But if you’re slightly hungry and want to enjoy some great skewers with drinks and chill at a great place, Torona is the place. I’d recommend bringing a friend or possibly a date since the place will certainly leave a great impression.
So… I heard people saying that they’d want some sort of rating system but quickly responded I’m not much for competition. I absolutely despise those numbering systems and star ratings and whatever. They may be helpful but they also force a writer’s opinion into a numerical system which is often just inappropriate. I’ll just do it with a binary system.
Should you visit this place? Yes.
Update: Martin added that you usually don’t get water to your white wine. I’m terribly sorry, but I didn’t know that. I don’t consume alcohol.
Torona is part 3 of Cuisine Notes: