The Parador at Lerma is roughly half way between our main home in France and our holiday home in the south of Spain. The purchase of our pequeña casa began almost three years ago. What should've been straightforward became problematic due to the title deeds being incomplete. After much slow moving Spanish bureaucracy, they're now almost sorted. The delay has been a little frustrating, but it's given us the opportunity to stay at the Parador a number of times now. It never fails to impress.
The weekend we decided to travel incorporated Spain's National Day. The Parador was completely full! We've never experienced that before. After looking at the dates we were relieved to be offered a room on the Thursday instead of the Friday, avoiding the busy weekend. It was a half board offer, with dinner in the restaurant and breakfast included. All for €190. A bargain!
On the trip down the rain was definitely in Spain and not just on the plain. Torrential downpours made driving difficult at times, but we made fairly good time and arrived at the Parador around 5pm. A 6.5 hour journey from home.
Parking is free in the square outside the impressive building. There's always a friendly welcome at reception. The staff speak good English and Spanish. We checked in using both. I'm sure our Spanish provoked a good laugh after we'd been shown to our room, but politeness ruled at the desk.
The room was a little smaller than we've been offered before, but boasted an amazing view through huge double windows and, as is usual, was immaculately presented.
The rain had arrived, so a planned walk around the historic town was postponed and we enjoyed a complimentary drink in the vast guest lounge instead. Two gin and tonics were €17. Not a bad price. Remember the size of Spanish measures! The local wine was complimentary.
The rain held off long enough for a walk as dusk was approaching and before our dinner booking of 8.30pm. There was even time for more gin in a bar adjacent to the Parador!
The restaurant is in an impressive vaulted ceilinged room. We had a nice table to one side of the entrance. All other tables were taken. The service was slick and professional. There was a presumption we wanted an English menu, but we soon had it changed to the Spanish version. Dinner was a choice from a set menu. The famous tender lamb leg wasn't included, but could've been had for a generous supplement. We didn't want to eat so much meat, but ordered entrecôte steaks instead. Our chosen starters were a Cèpe veloute with foie gras and raviolis stuffed with morcilla (black pudding). We had a local red wine, by the glass, with our mains.
The soup was especially delicious. The foie gras adding a rich sweetness to the rustic broth. The ravioli was disappointingly soggy. The morcilla barely noticeable. The whole thing entirely forgettable. The accompanying bread rolls were a delight. Crispy, warm and served with a generous helping of fragrant olive oil.
The steaks were perfectly cooked 'al punto' and incredibly tender. I'd say two of the best we've ever had. They were served very simply with rustic chips, sautéed mushrooms and roasted cherry tomatoes. Sometimes simple is best and this certainly was.
There was a polite pause before choosing desserts. We watched the theatre of crepe Suzettes being assembled and flambéed at the next table. Himself decided to have those. I went for curds with walnuts and honey. Both choices were divine. The curds creamy, but not over sweet. The sweetness coming from the fragrant honey. The crepes were decadently squishy and orangey. A blob of creme fraiche added the requisite richness.
We usually have coffee and digestifs, but after many gins earlier we decided not to have the booze and just settled for robust coffees.
The meal was almost perfect. The restaurant definitely worth experiencing. There's a cheaper bistrot style Bodeguita also. We've eaten there and the more tapas influenced menu is just as good.
The meal was included in the half board package price of €190.