When you go out for lunch in an English pub it’s not uncommon to find yourself seated at a large table which you share with complete strangers.
The English, being a polite people, tend to offer an initial greeting to whomever they are sitting next to and then ignore them stoically. Sometimes that is how it remains for the rest of the meal. However, other times, particularly after a pint or two, an innocuous few words such as “Would you be kind enough to pass the salt?” lead to conversation and before you know it you’re friends for life. Or at least until the end of the coffee.
Communal eating is not normal in La Rioja, but Ezcaray’s Michelin-starred chef, Francis Paniego, is trying it out at Tondeluna, a new venture in Logroño with his wife Luisa Barrachina and Echaurren chef David González. They effectively are bringing some of their most successful dishes from the famous Echaurren restaurants to the region capital.
Press and public interest has been immense in the opening few days with the restaurant packed out. And hopefully enough people will have enjoyed the communal experience that they’ll be tempted back again and again.