In our continuing quest to find the very best restaurants and accommodations around the world’s best golfing regions, here’s our review of the best little Tapas Bar in Tayside on the doorstep of the 2018 Open Championship in Carnoustie.
When I was writing a guide book on the golf courses in Spain entitled ‘Globetrotters Golfers Guide to Spain’, come lunchtime I soon learned to look for restaurants whose carparks sported predominantly Spanish number plates. Not speaking any significant Spanish, I’d simply sit down and let them accost me with the house’s ‘platos del dia’. It was joyous and a flow of local dishes would inevitably follow. It took me four visits to complete research for that book. But I reckon I was going back mainly to eat more Spanish food...
Sol Y Sombra is a Tapas Bar tucked away in Broughty Ferry, a suburb of Dundee, one of Scotland’s friendliest and most underrated cities. Located between the town and Carnoustie, the old fishing village nowadays offers a host of quaint, quality shops, bars and restaurants. Sol Y Sombra sits about a block from the harbour and has been a firm favourite in this area for half a dozen years. I met up with Phil who runs the restaurant and bar with his wife Joanna and son Lewis. Here’s what Phil has to say about how ‘repeated visits’ to Sol Y Sombra can seriously improve your golf game…
Menu - what menu?
So, what’s on the menu? Well, here’s the thing… there is no menu! It really does take me back to my Iberian wanderings. Instead, the servers simply check with you for any dietary restrictions or preferences and then commence a barrage of authentic tapas dishes. The first wave consists of a few lighter bites, all totally delicious and actually in total fairly filling followed by another small tsunami of sumptuous larger platters. Tapas is generally considered to be a bar snack in Spain but here you’ll be well satiated to the point of not really needing dessert. Of course, we still did...!
Here’s what we had...
Ali 0li: Homemade Garlic Mayonnaise
Chorizo Iberico De Bellota: The Highest quality of Chorizo
Queso Manchego: Manchego Cheese with Garlic and Rosemary olive oil
Ensaladilla Rusa: Vegetable Salad with Mayonnaise
Tostada de Higos Frescos Con Queso De Cabra: Toast with fresh figs, goat cheese, honey and black pepper
Ensalada de Tomate: Tomato Salad with Garlic, Parsley, Onion and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Pinchito de Embutido: Spanish Kebab with Chicken, Chorizo, Black Pudding with rice. The little Green Pepper is a Pimiento Del Padron only grown in Galicia. They’re famous for being sweet and mild. But be warned; 1 our of every 20 can be quite hot.
Patatas Bravas: Potatoes with Ali-oli (best described as a Spanish version of mayonnaise) and ‘Salsa Brava’, a spicy tomato sauce typical in Barcelona.
Gambas al Pil-Pil: Prawns cooked with Garlic, Parsley, White Wine, Pimenton and Chilli
Merluza Rebozada: Pan-fried hake
Esparragos Con Jamon Serrano: Asparagus wrapped in a Serrano ham
Albondigas Caseras: Homemade Meatballs with Tomato Sauce
Berenjenas con Bechamel Aubergine stuffed with 3 kinds of cheese, chicken, basil and a Bechamel Sauce on the top
Pollo Al Ajillo: Garlic Style Roasted Chicken
Sacos de Morcilla: Cake stuffed with Spanish Black Pudding with rice, caramel apple and onion
Turron Cheesecake: Turron is a Spanish nougat with crushed Almonds and honey
Raspberry and White Chocolate Cheesecake
Tarta De Santiago: Very traditional sponge almond cake from Santiago De Compostela
Lemon Sorbet in a Lemon: with coconut ice cream in a half coconut shell
You add on another £4.95 for the cakes or £4.00 for a sorbet. We parted with around £80 for two including an amazing bottle of Rioja which did boost the price up noticeably. You need a good Spanish wine to go with this lot though.
Después de la cena (After Dinner)
After dinner, it was downstairs to the bar where Phil’s young son, Lewis is studying ‘mixology’ and doing a more than a tolerable job. He’s a lovely lad and in spite of only just very recently reaching ‘drinking age’ himself, he seemed well on the way to becoming a master mixologist. I suspect he’s had some practice ‘somehow’... but didn’t press him on that.
Atmosphere and Service
The atmosphere is lively, perhaps a tad noisy at times but that’s a sign that everyone’s enjoying themselves. The servers are mostly from the Iberian Peninsula and sometimes a bit difficult to understand with their ‘alveolar trills’, that sexy way the Spanish roll their ‘r’s’ (even more pronounced and resonant than the Scots). You’re definitely going to be eating everything they bring anyhow so it doesn’t really matter if you can’t understand exactly what it is.
Sol Y Sombra is definitely among the Carnoustie and Dundee area’s most highly recommended restaurants. You’ll never be disappointed. It’s a rustic, authentic style of cooking with copious amounts so bring along a good appetite.
And I say again, it's a busy, popular venue especially at night so you should definitely book in advance. Otherwise, it’s down the road for Fish & Chips… adiós!
SOL Y SOMBRA TAPAS BAR
27 Gray Street, Broughty Ferry,
Dundee, DD5 2BH
Tel: 01382 776941