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Thursday, 17 October 2013

Calima, Marbella, Spain.

On my Birthday and the last day of our holidays in September we stopped for a night in Marbella. It's a good stop off point for the long drive from the Costa de la Luz where we were staying to the airport in Malaga. Despite this we've never actually been to Marbella before, it not being 'our sort of place'. As is so often the case with these things, it turned out that it was really lovely. We didn't see that much of it in truth, we were desperately squeezing the last bit of sun out before returning home, so a day on the beach followed by chilling on our balcony overlooking the sea was my favoured way of spending my birthday.
We taxied there, you go through a private barrier at one point, it feels very exclusive. Walking down the corridor into the restaurant, the first thing you think is wow. It's the most beautiful restaurant I think we've ever been in. The open glass fronted kitchen is to one side, but the pièce de résistance is the view out to the sea. The whole of the front of the restaurant is open with nothing but palm trees framing the view. The sun was just setting, it really was magical. I spotted chef Dani García there too, and as he now has a restaurant in New York, he isn't always there these days. Later on he tweeted us saying he was sorry he missed us as he had intended to come out for a chat.
We got the table we would have chosen on the font row too. No food ordering was necessary, you don't come somewhere like this and do half measures; it's always got to be the taster menu. We picked a reasonable €30 wine, I always tell the sommelier the style of wine I want and my budget - simple.
Apologies for the lack of detailed descriptions, it was a while ago so the incoherent notes on my phone are scant. First the bread - it was beautiful, that I do remember.
Iberian. Appetizers with their own house fruity olive oil. One was a foamy bagel, the other a thin crispy bacon delicacy.
Cup Cake. We were instructed to eat this in one go (including the paper?) I always obey commands like this, it was fabulous.
Caviar with Dates. Abolutely gorgeous. 
"Empanadilla" of my Mum. Light and crispy wafer filled with tuna tartare.


Egg with no Egg. Dreamy, like a creamy ajo blanco a local chilled almond soup which is a favourite of ours.
Oyster, Tomato, Beet and Orange. Another really beautiful dish.
Rocky Seabed. This tasted of the sea as you'd expect. Such an amazing looking dish and such skill, but a few courses we thought just lacked that incredible taste sensation we're looking for - that real magic - and this was one of them even though it looks like a piece of art.
Scallops orange/ lemon. This didn't work for me this one, the citrus flavour completely over powered the delicate taste of the scallop.
Partridge foie cold/ hot. Very good.
Bimi. Mrs B enjoyed this one.
I've seen this crockery style elsewhere recently.
Eel with Almond Summer.  Our star dish - divine.
Gazpachuelo Gachamiga of Crab.  Good too, like a crab soup, but this isn't a Michelin star dish for me, more like one you'd find in a typical traditional Spanish restaurant.
Devil Fish. A simply cooked meaty fish.
Steak Foyot. Good but not blown away by this one either.
Choco OOVE with spices. It was lovely that they'd added a candle on this for my birthday, but the sponge wasn't good at all, it actually tasted like a sponge from the bath really actually spongy, not a good texture and not a lot chocolate flavour in it.
Lime Lemon Passion. Our star pudding, a really fabulous dessert. One of the best of the year.
Whisky Cake Banana Magú.  Lovely.
Platano Magú.
So in the end it was a mixed bag for us. It's a good two star restaurant without doubt one of the best in Andalucia, but for me there were just a few too many misses. When I'm paying £264 for two including wine, I expect every single course to be a winner, and some were just ok. This was not enough to totally disappoint and spoil our experience as a whole, but I guess we have very high standards when it comes to dining at this level; it's all about expectations. There was also a fantastic meat dish missing from the tasting menu we thought. Service was impeccable as you'd expect. In conclusion a very good meal if just short of stunning. Not a bad way of spending your birthday though.
Nice choccies.

Price: £132 per head for the taster menu. Just about worth it.
Service: Michelin star level - impeccable.

Atmosphere: Beautiful.
Food: Very good generally with a few exceptions.
Star dish:
Eel with Almond Summer.
Score: 7.5/10.
Soundtrack: Another star - Stevie Wonder.


 

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