Restaurant Review: Casino El Cobre

The restaurant in the crosshairs today is Casino El Cobre.  No, it’s not an actual casino, that’s just its name.  If you hadn’t guessed by the name, it is the canteen that’s at the mine, and it is run by Sodexo, (who you may remember from earlier this year).  So, what can you expect?

Well, it’s somewhat self service, with a dinner lady giving you your main course (from a choice of two or three).  However, there only seem to be about four or five items in total, so the menu couldn’t be described as innovative or diverse.  Don’t get me wrong though, the food is very edible, although it does tend to be a little on the salty side.  The main courses are usually not quite hot enough, but there are microwaves provided to heat it up a bit should you need to which is good.

Typically for your main course you can expect some sort of meat with pasta/potato, or a sort of frankfurter and lentil soup mixture.  Soup is also available as a first course/side dish, and is good, especially in the winter, and there are often croutons available too, however it does all taste the same, and seems to vary only in colour, but don’t get me wrong, I do like it.  Self service side salads are there should you want, with oil, vinegar, and lemon juice to add to taste.  Pudding is good if you like mousse or jelly (luckily for me I love jelly so that’s ok), and there’s fresh fruit available too.

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It’s very good value for money as well, and it’s cost me £0.00 in total so far.  The décor is as you’d expect from a canteen, but there are some posters dotted about (mainly to do with safe working practices).  Music adds to the ambience, with all sorts of music being offered (including The Beatles).

Overall, I give it a thumbs up!

Restaurant Review: La Cantina

I’ve been considering blogging about the restaurants that I visit for a while, and so thought that I’d use this post as a pilot for the general idea (as I’m not totally convinced whether I can pull it off, comments would be appreciated).

Anyway, to kick off this new (probably terrible) feature, we’ll be looking at the canteen of the desert camp.  I don’t think it’s actually got a name, so I’ve arbitrarily given it one.

The restaurant

The restaurant

The first thing to notice is that it is literally a tent.  However, it is always nice and warm inside, which is definitely a huge bonus (as the desert winds can be pretty cold to say the least)!  There’s only one table, as there are only about six people at any one time in the camp, and so we all sit round it together.  It does have satellite TV, so there’s usually something on (although I have to be honest, Chilean game shows are very odd indeed – however, they have a long way to go before beating Japan’s efforts in that particular department)!

The menu is simple, and there is no choice (due to there only being six people to cook for), but the food is varied and of very good quality.

The first course of the first meal I had.

The first course of the first meal I had – mussels and salad.

At every meal, there is bread provided.  Lunch is three courses, supper two, and breakfast is pretty bog standard.  Even though we’re in the middle of the desert, it’s not uncommon to eat fish and shellfish, (as well as meat).  Often there is soup for the first course, which is pretty good.

I only have one criticism of the food here, and that is that almost everything comes with a garnish of coriander.  I’m not a fussy eater, and there are very few foods that I don’t eat (few enough to be counted on one hand), but unfortunately, the thing I hate most is coriander!  However, as all you Brits who read this will undoubtedly understand, one doesn’t make a scene, so I take it on the chin! (Luckily one of the effects of altitude is to reduce the sense of taste and smell)!

Don’t get me wrong though, the food here is excellent!

A Taste Of Home – Part II

Following on from Part I of this two part special, it’s time to tackle the Indian meal I had last week.  Indian restaurants are very difficult to track down in Santiago, but luckily there was one about a ten minute walk from my hotel, and so that seemed the easiest place to go.

It’s situated on Av. de 11 Septiembre, which is the same road as my hotel, but it’s much further down.  I’m by Pedro de Valdivia metro station, whereas this one is nearer Tobalaba (two stops on line one to the East).

I opted for the set menu, for about £6.00 or so.  With that you got a starter of cheese balls, with a main course of “Chicken Curry”, rice, and naan bread.  Quite what type of curry “chicken curry” was, I wasn’t certain, and I ended up having a bi lingual chat with the waiter (with me resolutely sticking to Spanish, while he opted for English). Unfortunately I also got a menu primarily in English, but fortunately it wasn’t a shambolic Google Translate job (unlike one incident I recall in a hotel in Bayeux, where the English menu offered “roofing tile” for pudding.  I still don’t know what that could have been – if you’re ever in the Bayeux area, definitely check out the tapestry)!

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Anyway, I enjoyed my chicken curry very much, although again, it’s not as good as curry in the UK!