How many shoestring potatoes can you fit in an egg cup? Read on!
There is a Saudi proverb which might be translated as “A wise man bends his knees to fit his blanket.” For many of us the past few years have suggested that financial blankets are shrinking, or knees are, by some mysterious process, growing at an alarming rate.
For those that love good food, be they gourmets, gourmands, or simply those that have tired of the ever present, ever growing blandness and mediocrity of modern food there are few alternatives! Sharpen up your Sabatier’s, seek out niche providers of horribly overpriced organics, and spend endless hours convincing yourself that you can, on a good night at least, out Vefour Vefour? (You can’t)
Alternatively, you could dine out at a superb restaurant, returning at a late hour replete with the sort of food you believed had passed into history. In most cities such restaurants are about as easy to find as tins of Albanian lute polish or jars of preserved bee stings. You will also need very big blankets!
Or perhaps not. There is a restaurant that equals The Raby Hunt, or Bibendum, or “21”. Or even, on a very good night indeed, Au Chambord. That is to say it has some of the finest cuisine anywhere. It serves it up with precise, delightful, professional expertise, on an astonishingly regular basis (I know, I practically live there!) and it does it at a price which I do not intend to reveal yet for fear of being the butt of widespread ridicule.
Le Diner restaurant at the Vincci hotel in Malaga is our venue. This small restaurant in a delightful boutique hotel a short walk from the bustle of Larios street is more than a remarkable find. It is what fine cuisine should be all about. It shouts quality, commitment, expertise and experience at you, as all the best restaurants do. But it is genuinely concerned to please you. You will be served by waiters and waitresses who are at the top of their game, never intrusive, always attentive, and always knowledgeable, and this, in part, is what you will get;
You’ll be given an amuse bouche, perhaps a bacon wrapped fig on a bed of cous-cous, or an avocado foam, you’ll be served a selection of breads with three different spiced salts and olive oil. Whilst enjoying a glass of Moet you will be able to choose between, say, a cuttlesfish risotto, squid croquettes, an amazing “mini hamburger” of salmon or beef with a citrus cream or truffle sauce, or fois gras, avocado mousse and many others for your starters. The wine list is a homage to Spain and, trust me, Tesco Rioja this is not.
Follow this with Iberian prey, low temperature pigs cheeks, rabbit in garlic, John Dory, a salmon with coconut “air” ( almost impossible to describe, just go and eat it!) or an exquisite cod with tomato jam. There’s steak and veal of course, and wonderful it is, but that’s not what this is about, is it?
Amongst the postres the chocolate millefeuille, the tangerine sorbet with fennel, the lemon mousse or the raisin and honey coated fried bread are likely to have you enquire if a season ticket might be a possibility. Vincci (Vinccihoteles.com) have a small number of hotels in Spain, Portugal and Tunisia. I do not know if they are all as good as the Malaga outpost. I intend, if my legs and my liver survive, to find out!
Now to reveal the price. If you happen to live in the UK then two of you can quite easily fly to Malaga, stay the weekend at the Vincci, dine like this twice with a bottle of vintage Moet each and save 500 pounds compared with an evening at Quatre Saison. The menu selection above, five courses including the bouche and the bread selection, would cost you about 20 pounds per person.
Wait! Wait, I haven’t finished yet!! You can’t all get in at once anyway, it’s not a big restaurant. And you won’t need your blanket either, it’s air conditioned, but not cold!
How many shoestrings in the egg cup? About sixty! Chef has knives even sharper than my own!
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