miércoles, 7 de octubre de 2020



Text and Photos : José Manuel Serrano Esparza

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The Restaurant Bar X, located at c/ Carretera, 25 in Cerro Muriano (Córdoba, Spain) has been bestowed the Gurmé Award Córdoba 2020 Chosen by Professional Jury Modality as best bar of traditional food, something exceedingly praiseworthy, since both Córdoba City and the villages of its province have a raft of bars and restaurants boasting a top-notch gastronomic level, imbued with the very special charm, melting pot of ancient cultures and good attention to customer, both national and international one, which have always been inherent to this soulful land and its people.


The award just granted to Restaurant Bar X in Cerro Muriano features a highly significant relevance, because it has been given by a professional jury made up by recognized cuisine experts like Adrián Caballero (chef of La Regadera Restaurant), Concha Estrada (chef of Restaurant Tapagonia and a prominent historical figure in the defense of wine culture and the Cordoban gastronomic heritage), Vicente Sánchez (cuisine pundit of Gurmé Córdoba) and Francisco J. Poyato (director of ABC Córdoba) as president, who gathered on Friday September 25, 2020 at the Hospes Palacio Hotel of the Bailío to deliberate and designate the winners.

In addition, the accolade has been sponsored by Cruzcampo, Covisa Mercedes-Benz, Solemmcor-Cáritas, Córdoba Patrimonio de la Humanidad, Royal Bliss Premium, Castelanotti and Barbadillo.

It isn´t easy to avoid the huge emotional intensity spawned by this just granted and important prize, not only for Juan José Obrero Castro and his wife Toñi (main driving forces of restaurant Bar X since they took over the reins in 1991) but also for his sons, friends, customers and persons knowing them broadly speaking.

Because there have been thirty years marked by great satisfactions, unforgettable experiences, a stalwart clientele, hand carved by dint of strenuous effort, affection and a reference-class personalized attention.

These aspects have turned into key factors that have steadily made them grow as great professionals in their trade, very cherished and admired not only in this truly beautiful village placed 15 km in the north of Córdoba City, but also in the whole province, all of Spain and, however incredible it may seem, abroad, because they have also customers in different countries all over the world doing their best not to miss their rendezvous with Bar Restaurant X whenever they come to Córdoba.

But what most has prevailed by far throughout the diachronic trajectory of this pretty special family business, in which Juan José and Toñi´s sons have likewise helped for some years, has been the suffering, the arduous piecework, the foreseeing of a myriad of details aiming at making each customer feel like at home and relish an unforgettable gastronomic experience, focused on the remembrances of palate. 

Juan José and Toñi have been working for more than thirty years in what they like most, believe in what they do and have managed to achieve that Restaurant Bar X utterly identifies with the territory in which it is located, as well as fighting to their utmost to anticipate to customers needs and wishes. 

Restaurant Bar X has always prioritized the selection of top quality products and to work them as best as possible for the visitors to appreciate them, in such a way that from the very moment they enter through the main door, customers perceive authenticity, along with an unswerving level of compromise displayed by both the chef Toñi and the other persons attending the dining room. © jmse

And a maximum endeavour is made at every instant trying that clients accurately get the hang of what they want to convey and the genuine personality of this family business on its way to be 90 years old and having unabatedly fought to highlight the importance of Cordoban cuisine, in addition to boosting the talkings among friends (a very ancient Cordoban habit) who not only go to have lunch or dinner really well, but also to feel at ease and forget their problems for a while.

Because Juan José Obrero Castro ( a man featuring a remarkable entrepreneurial insight and a substantiated psychological flair for customers, as well as being a deep connoisseur of this professional scope) and his wife Toñi (an extraordinary cook and chef of Restaurant Bar X) are first and foremost hard working persons loving their job and have known how to perfectly complement each other, since Toñi rules the kitchen, always chooses first-class products and makes the foods, together with their fabulous presentation, whereas Juan José and his sons attend the dining lounge, serve dishes and pay heed to fulfill any desire of diners. 

It is a flawless symbiosis which isn´t learnt overnight and needs many years of mutual toil until acquiring such an amazing synchronization between both of them, literally working like a Swiss watch, starting at 11:00 h in the morning and ending between 12:00 h in the night and 3:00 h in the morning, depending on the days and influx of customers.

It´s a very hard work that they have made with unutterable passion and love for more than three decades, without letting success go to their head at any time whatsoever. 

Therefore, Juan José and Toñi go on being the same persons as always, good people having tons of experience and a long career in this professional domain, which they have known to combine with commendable humbleness and savvy, as well as practising an unflinching desire to improve every day, making them never to rest on their laurels and be immersed in the betterment of their comprehensive list of homemade meals and artisan desserts. 


Though evidently Restaurant Bar X possesses a host of tiny details making a difference, turning it into a cuisine shrine unique in its field and displaying a gastronomic offer of impressive level, taste and very careful presentation, it isn´t less true that its raison d´être and working philosophy greatly respond, even today, to the fundamental keynotes that were created 83 years ago by the mythical Mrs Encarnación, Juan José Obrero Castro´s granddaughter, an exceptional and very humble woman, 

                                                                                                               © Juan José Obrero Castro

who in 1937, after becoming a widow with five children, founded the Bar X in Cerro Muriano, a family business currently in its third generation. 

The mythical Mrs Encarnación, creator of Bar X in Cerro Muriano, appears here, in the middle of the image, in a black and white image from sixties. © Juan José Obrero Castro

This woman oozing great courage and tremendous working ability managed to provide for her sons (one of them Juan José Obrero Castro´s father), thanks to her colossal tenacity, mental strength and a human dimension bringing about an instant chemistry with everybody arriving at Bar X.

Particularly in the early stage, because of the economical difficulties of the time, as well as cooking, Encarnación had to do many different things by herself on a shoestring budget, with grueling working days between 14 and 16 hours during the second half of thirties, forties and fifties, sacrificing herself for her sons and grandchildren, depriving herself of many things and with a boundless unselfishness guiding at every moment her painstaking attention to customers, whom she treated as if they were people from her own family.

Mrs Encarnación, everlasting family flagship and founder of Bar X in 1937, in the middle of the image of this colour photograph from seventies. © Juan José Obrero Castro

This was the context in which Juan José Obrero Castro was brought up, presently being the owner of Restaurant Bar X, having been born in Cerro Muriano and loving this village with all of his being.

Therefore, the daily contact with his grandmother Encarnación and his father during sixties, seventies and eighties pervaded strongly Juan José´s professional development, to such an extent that he learnt very much from both of them at the School of Life, in addition to inheriting from them their outstanding entrepreneurial nose, their psychology of clients, how to take care of them to the extent possible and the optimization of strategies to solve ad hoc, within very few seconds, the needs of all kind of visitors in any of the two clearly distinguishable spaces of Restaurant Bar X :

a) The Bar Area, with its counter that customers find immediately after getting in.

b) The Dining Room


The origins of Restaurant Bar X hark back to the period when it came on stream as a small bar in the village of Cerro Muriano in 1937, and even nowadays, it is known by a lot of people as " Bar X ", albeit it has eventually turned on its own merits into a recognized restaurant in the field of artisan food with modern touches and nuances of author cuisine, evolving until becoming one of the reference-class culinary temples in Córdoba province. 

Grilled she-goat cheese cured in the remaining oil of an old cheese container, a real feast becoming a delight for the most exquisite palates. © jmse

And this is the main hallmark of Restaurant Bar X : the manufacture of a vast assortment of handcrafted delicious homemade meals generating the relish of everybody tasting the dishes prepared by Toñi, which in addition are enhanced with mouth watering presentation and flavours. 

Vegetable Tempure. A further exquisite dish from homemade traditional cuisine of the many offered by Restaurant Bar X in Cerro Muriano, which also boast an excellent presentation. © jmse

Therefore, it´s no wonder that its extensive gastronomic offer be a traditional cooking stronghold and that it has by far gone beyond the proximity cuisine, which always was and will keep on being the essence of this bar and restaurant that is living history of Cerro Muriano, with an artisan concept of each and every dish, improved year after year, standing out : 

Hors D´Oeuvres :

Queso Gratinado (Grilled Cheese), 

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Surtido de Patés Caseros ( Assortment of Homemade Pâtés), Chorizo de Venado (Venison Sausage), Croquetas Caseras ( Homemade Croquettes), Sierra and Campiña Cocktail of Meals, Zarzuela de Ibéricos ( Selection of Iberian Pork Products).

First Courses and Vegetables : 

Picadillo Soup, Salmorejo, Eggs in Matanza, Revuelto de Níscalos con Ahumados (Scrambled Milk Cup Mushrooms with Smoked Products), 

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Boletus Eduslis with Foie, 

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Setas Salteadas  (Sautéed Mushrooms), Cardos Esparragados ( Cardoons with Asparagus), 

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Pisto Con Huevo Frito (Ratatouille with Fried Egg), 

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Pimientos del Piquillo Rellenos (Stuffed Piquillo Peppers), Verduritas Frescas en Tempura (Fresh Vegetables Tempura), Ensalada Singular (Singular Salad), Ensalada Mixta (Mixed Salad), Ensalada Tibia de Perdiz (Partridge Warm Salad), Revuelto de Habitas " Baby" ( Scrambled Broad Beans " Baby " ).

Meats : 

Pollo al Ajillo (Fried Chicken with Garlic), Churrasco de Cerdo Ibérico (Iberian Pork Steak), Parrillada de Carne del Valle de Los Pedroches (Grilled Meat from Los Pedroches Valley), 

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Lomo de Venado con Compota de Manzana y Bellotas (Venison Loin with Apple and Acorn Sauce), Presa Ibérica a la Piedra (Stone Grilled Piece from Iberian Pork Shoulder), Chuletillas de Lechón (Suckling Pig Cutlets), Chuletillas de Cordero Lechal (Suckling Lamb Chops), Mollejitas de Cordero (Lamb Sweetbread), 

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1/4 de Lechón Ibérico del Valle de los Pedroches (A Quarter of Iberian Suckling Pig from Los Pedroches Valley), Entrecot de Ternera (Beef Entrecôte).

Fish and Seafood : 

Pez Espada (Swordfish), 

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Lomo de Atún en Aceite de Oliva (Tuna Loin in Olive Oil), 

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Lomo de Bacalao al Gratén (Cod Loin Au Gratin), Lubina al Horno (Baked Sea Bass), Dorada al Horno (Baked Gilt-Head Bream), Merluza a la Marinera (Hake with Seafood).

Handmade Desserts : 

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Pastel de Castaña (Chestnut Cake) 

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Flan de Huevo y Coco (Egg and Coconut Flan)

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Tarta Especial de Queso Hecha por Toñi (Special Cheese Cake Made by Toñi)

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Tocinito de Cielo con Almendras (Tocinito de Cielo with Almonds)

Tarta de Santiago (St. James  Cake) 

Tarta de Cuajada (Curd Cake)

Natillas (Custard)

Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding)

Helados de Diferentes Sabores (Different Flavours Ice-Creams)

Rosquillas de la Churrera de Belalcázar Flambeadas con Anís de Rute (Ring-Shaped Pastry Made by the Fritter Maker Woman from Belalcázar Village Flambéed with Anise from Rute Village)

Chocolate Mousse

Lemon Mousse 

And if that were not enough, Restaurant Bar X from Cerro Muriano offers a carefully chosen selection of specific dishes achieving a laudable pairing with its wide range of imported beers from different countries : 

                                                                                                                                       © jmse

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Salchichas Magnum Alemanas (German Magnum Sausages), Carne con Tomate (Meat with Tomato), Callos de Ternera (Calf  Tripe Stew), 

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Queso Azul con Manzana (Blue Cheese with Apple), Lomo de Orza (Pork Loin Slowly Fried in its Own Lard with Different Spices To Acquire a Succulent Taste and Smell and Subsequently Kept in a Clay Vessel Called Orza), Carrillada de Cerdo en Salsa (Stew of Pork Cheek), Codillo Horneado (Baked Pork Knuckle).

There are also available Daily Menu, Season Menu and Tasting Menu.

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To all of it must be added its excellent cellar,

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with a painstaking selection of first-rate wines, not only Rioja and Ribera del Duero ones, but also others from Extremadura and Catalonia, as well as some more ones from El Bierzo, Murcia, Navarra, etc. 

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On the other hand, they also offer a superb acorn fed Iberian ham with Valle de Los Pedroches Certificate of Origin, a full-fledged gastronomic jewel, synonym with quality and tradition, yielding the added value of the land generating them and fruit of the thorough elaboration of each piece in a unique and ideal environment for the free range breeding of the Iberian pig, fed with the best feasible raw material : the holm oak acorn of this area in the north of Córdoba, whose high content in natural sugars confers this very special ham its characteristic sweet taste, in complete synergy with an optimal microclimate for its curation, so it is highly appreciated in very different markets as Europe, North America and Asia.

Besides, Restaurant Bar X offers a wide range of limited production fabulous virgin olive oils extra from the picual variety and intense flavour, handcraftedly manufactured in oil mill, which are the bee´s knees, with a green olive scent, full of subtleties with a number of fruit and vegetable notes, a cholesterol-lowering real liquid gold, with its excellent composition in fatty acids and a great quantity of natural antioxidants.

Furthermore, they have got an orchard of their own with mint, laurel, a pomegranate tree, an orange tree and parsley.


Restaurant Bar X in Cerro Muriano enjoys a privileged situation, at a distance of only 15 km in the north of Córdoba City, from which you can reach this small village in roughly 20 minutes by car and half an hour by the Bus N.

The prize just attained by Bar Restaurant X is also important because of the recognition it means for Cerro Muriano as a gastronomic place of the highest level, in which there are other bars and restaurants with many years of trajectory, effort and a cusine offer that is also worth, like the Bar Bruno (founded in 1965), the Bar Cinema (founded in 1977), the Los Pinares Restaurant, the Bar Casinito, etc, whose success was always celebrated by Juan José and Toñi, without forgetting the Bar Castor, which was the first one set up in Cerro Muriano throughout twenties. As a matter of fact, a significant percentage of the owners of different business belonging to this professional sphere in Cerro Muriano are neighbours of the village who have known and helped one another for many years. © jmse

Cerro Muriano is a place of stunning beauty, surrounded by the wonderful landscapes of Sierra Morena and stands out for its singular microclimate with five or six fewer degrees than the capital of the province, which turns it into a natural paradise that visitors can relish, leveraging the running gentle breeze that even in full summer makes the stay in it a true pleasure.