The restaurant that Dani García has just opened in Marbella is a heartfelt tribute to French cuisine. And also, an allusion to his years of apprenticeship at the La Cónsula School of Hospitality in Malaga. “Between 1994 and 1996 they taught us this type of dish. Nobody told us about Ferran Adrià, nor about Spanish avant-garde cuisine. Haute cuisine revolved around French recipes made with cream and butter. Babette’s menu includes some of them reinterpreted with a completely different technical and conceptual baggage”, says the chef.
There is no shortage of popietas de sole, hake in champagne, vol-au-vent, lobster a la Thermidor or prawn cocktail. Statements etched in the history of European gastronomy that from today’s perspective are often described as outdated. And next to it, some rehabilitated formulas such as the Wellington sirloin, which has been in fashion for some time. French recipe book that does not imply a renunciation of some of his personal weaknesses.
Croquettes, cod fritters and gabardine prawns are added to the Iberian ham portions, snacks that coexist with more sophisticated starters. Some as bombastic as the caviar duo (Oscietra and Baeri) on a sea bass tartar. Others with popular roots such as the Parisian Croque Monsieur, two successful suggestions.
With a refined academicism, the room service chops, carves, flambées and finishes dishes in front of customers. This is the case with the lobster in Thermidor sauce with bechamel, a difficult recipe for current tastes, which Dani García improves with a mincemeat of the crustacean itself. Liturgy that extends to the cutting of freshly baked brioche bread, to the cutting of a remarkable Wellington sirloin, or to the crêps sucette, which are finished at the table, one of the best desserts.
The aromas accompany the Paul Bocuse sherry puff pastry soup that are increased by breaking the layer of mille-feuille that covers it. A dish no less successful than the vol-au-vent Babette or quail in puff pastry with bourguignon sauce, alluding to the film Babette’s Feast (1987) on which it is inspired. On the contrary, the chicken breast in galantine with morels in cream is somewhat bland. The hake with champagne is nice, and a nostalgic point is the three steaks of the Cónsula (white veal with pepper, Iberian pork with mustard and venison with Malaga wine) in memory of some emblematic recipes in their own school. Tasty dish, although difficult to enjoy as flavors and sauces end up mixing. The winery, conscientiously equipped, offers endless possibilities.
Altogether, an attractive repertoire of recipes with history and story dusted off and updated with the seal of this great chef.
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