Out on the bank of the Guadalquivir river, in one of the most hip, if touristy, neighborhoods of Sevilla is the Mercado Lonja del Barranco, a modern gourmet market housed inside of a building supposedly designed by Eiffel, constructed in 1861 and declared a World Heritage Site. As you enter this almost clinically clean and brightly lit market, you come across a network of food stalls, each specializing in some dressed-up Spanish classic: an arrocería (rice bar) with the option to personalize, a stall with only canned goods (mussels, sardines, cockles…), a croqueteria selling just croquetes but with a wide variety of sweet and salty fillings. There are also various tapas stands and a place for wine or local sherry. You pick your food and eat it right at the counter or take it out to the lofty open area overlooking the river. The place is packed with people having a fine time, boozing and sharing pretty little plates of artisanal this and that.
As we already had dinner plans later in the night, my boyfriend and I decided to hit only one food stand and share something small with a glass of wine. We chose La Salmoreteca, a very colorful little stall specializing in just two things: artisanal salmorejos and gourmet tortillas (Spanish omelets) made with different fillings. Their colorful salmorejo selection consists of a yellow salmorejo made with corn, an off-white one with almonds, a black one made with squid ink, a bright red one made with beetroot, one with mushrooms and truffle, another with orange… The toppings also get very creative, including things like seaweed, black garlic, apple, peanuts, caviar, capers, anchovies, very good quality jamón, marinated codfish, ceviche and shellfish. You can choose to get the traditional version (ground in a mortar and topped with egg and ham) or fo for the “contemporary”, which is a bit thinner with a touch of Jerez sherry vinegar added along with the egg and ham.
We chose the vivid green “Salmorejo de Aguacate y Plancton,” which came with grated egg, a tiny bit of lime peel and a tangy cebiche of fish from the nearby Guadalquivir on top. The texture was fantastically viscous and smooth, more like a pudding than a soup. It tasted almost entirely of avocado, like a smoothed down guacamole, but there was also some garlic there to wake the flavors up. It didn´t have much to do with the original recipe for the delectable Andalucían classic I love so dearly, and that beautiful balance of garlic sting and tomato´s dulzor was not there to put me in the salmorejo-induced trance I had grown used to on this trip. I had chosen the green one over the more interesting-looking beetroot or squid ink varieties because I thought it would remain truest to the original tomato, bread, oil, garlic version and when I realized that it really didn´t I regretted not ordering these more colorful creations instead… But that´s on me.
Otherwise, I very much enjoyed the concept of this place and the guacamole soup was, in fact, delicious.