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Fat Albert's (London)

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Restaurant and Bar.

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      23.01.2002 04:18
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      Fat Albert's Soldeu Andorra Tel: +376 851765 To be honest, the name doesn't inspire confidence. We've all heard of these types of bars, all flash and no substance, right? Wrong. Fat Albert's (or L'Albert Rabassut as it is also know in Catalan) is situated just behind the Hotel Himalaia, up the hill from the main road through the resort. From the road it doesn't look very much. Entry up up a few steps from the road. The left hand entrance goes downstairs to the restauarant, the right upstairs to the bar. The bar is a typical ski resort bar, a Coyote Ugly wannabe, but without the luxury of Leanne Rhimes. A tout was handing out free drinks vouchers at the base of the gondola one day when we were making out way home. We were going to go anyway so the vouchers were an added plus. Actually, there is a catch with the vouchers, it's a buy one get one free deal and the free drink is shot of schnapps. I happen to like schnapps anyway so, no problem, I had apple flavour but you can also have peach. The bar owner can sometimes be found out in the pistes with his video camera. The videos he shoots he shows on the big screen in the evening. You never know, if you take a spectacular tumble, you may become famous for a night. The bar has the obligatory loud music but then it's not unusual for that. When we got there at 6.30pm the place wasn't full by any means. We were easily able to get a seat and have a laugh at the day's video whilst waiting for our table in the restaurant downstairs. So, the bar is just like any other, no better no worse. What really makes Fat Albert's outstanding is the restaurant. The restaurant does its meals in sittings, 7.00pm and 9.00pm. We elected to take the 7.00pm sitting both times we ate there. The restaurant has limited seating, around 60 in total. We were advised that it is recommended to book
      as the place is usually full. The decor is a reproduction of a byre of the type that used to be common in the Alps and Pyrenees. Houses were mostly for farmers and the animals used to kept in the byre downstairs whilst the family lived upstairs, enjoying the additional heating generated by the animals. This building is almost certainly not authentic. It does look good though. The racks around the walls that would on olden times have held straw for the animals now hold bottles of wine. They have a good choice, mostly Spanish wines; we chose a Marques de Caceras Rioja. It was excellent. There is a menu of regular dishes and that also have blackboards showing the day's specials. For starters I had the Tomato Chowder and my wife had the Thai Beef Salad. For the main course I had the Beef and Ale Pie from the specials menu and my wife had the Breast of Chicken from the standard menu. For dessert I had the BBQ Banana whilst my wife just had coffee. All of the dishes were excellent. In fact, we were spoilt for choice. The menu contained other delicacies such as Tiger Tail Prawns, Escargot, T-bone Steak, Mountain Trout (which I had on our second visit) and Medillions de Porc (which my wife had then). To be honest, we could have eaten there every night and not had the same thing twice although I would have been seriously tempted to have the BBQ Banana every night! They also do Pizzas if you are that way inclined. These are prepared fresh and cooked in a traditional wood-fired oven. An alternative is Pasta, including the ubiquitous Spaghetti Alla Bolognese. Service is excellent, attentive but not intrusive. We did not feel we were being rushed at any time although we finished well before the following sitting. The meal on the first occasion came to around £35 and £50 on the second, extraordinary value in view of the excellent quality and service. Payment in Sterling is welcomed! Highly recommen
      ded. Oh, and by the way, don't ask to meet Fat Albert to compliment him on his cuisine, he doesn't actually exist!

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