The Gran Melia Don Pepe hotel is an exquisite location. Entering the hotel we were awestruck with its beauty and this continued as we walked the grounds to the Calima Restaurant. The hotel staff however did not wish to discuss the Calima Restaurant, this should have been our first hint at what was to come.
The Calima Restaurant is magnificent; the restaurant opens onto the ocean. The atmosphere however is not so resplendent. There is a cloud over Calima of superiority, a disconcerting quietness that never lifts. The staff are robotic in their service and manner with the patrons.
The main draw for our group was that Calima boasts a Michelin star and many reviews compare it to the fabulous ‘Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck’. This is most definitely a mis-representation of the food we received. There were five people in our group, all enjoy a varied diet and try exotic and unusual food. The food prepared for us at Calima was inedible and made three of the group physically sick. None of the courses were hot or even tepid; many of the courses were reminiscent of the texture of baby food. Dani Garcia seems to prepare a sour yoghurt and parmesan cheese foam and put this vile mixture on all his dishes. Granted presentation of all course was exceptional but isn’t the point of a restaurant to have food prepared that can actually be eaten?
We chose to end the twenty four course meal half way through, by this point our stomachs were churning, the courses were not bettering and when we asked the maître d' if in his opinion it would improve we were told he only liked two of the courses himself, one of which was the ‘Wedding Cake’ which turns out to be ‘petit fours’. These were similar to chocolates you could buy from your local M&S.
Receiving intimidating ‘death’ stares from the open kitchen for ending the meal early we asked for our bill. At this point we informed the restaurant manager that we would pay for all drinks consumed and partially the food bill as we had stopped half way through the set menu. We were told that this would not be a problem and that he would amend the bill. To our dismay and shock five minutes later we are confronted by the Spanish police. The restaurant has informed the police that we are refusing to pay the whole bill as we do not have the money to pay. As the Spanish police do not speak English we pay the bill in full. Surely this is not the way to treat customers? And lying to the police cannot be good business practice?
My advice to all would be to visit the Gran Melia Don Pepe hotel, have a few drinks in their grounds or perhaps the restaurant in its grounds but avoid Calima Restaurant at all costs!! I could think of better ways to spend £1200 being miserable, going to Australia for my next bushtucker trial!!
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