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Rogelio

Calima

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When Michelin spoke a few months ago all the fuss was about Subijana and if he was worth the third star or not. But the most unfair fact about last Michelin guide in Spain was not mentioning Calima, the new joint in Marbella by Dani García, formerly in Tragabuches. After a great meal there, IMHO this should be a well deserved two star.

Located in the luxury hotel Meliá Don Pepe, the premises are huge, with a few tables facing the Mediterranean creating the prefect atmosphere for fine dining.

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The menu is long with the first par with plenty of amuses, aperitifs, starters and all kind of gimmick dishes and the second part is solid as a rock with superb and very thoughtful dishes. The weakest par are the desserts, good but not up to the rest of the meal.

First dish arrive with el puchero and its croquette

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The sublimation of this andalusian stew, it was good but the croquette is one of the best ones that I've had in my life.

Next dish was a gold ingot

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The most gimmicked dish, made with olive oil and gold dust, it had the perfect technique for the weakest flavour.

Following was the Urta a la Roteña makis

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A delicious adaptation of this traditional dish, Urta is a local fish from the Cadiz bay usually cooked ina tomatoes, onion and potatoes stew. This dish had all the essences of the original stew but with a new and refreshing touch. Delicious.

Cherry gazpacho with fresh cheese

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A García’s classic that was surprising when appeared but now is just another fruit gazpacho. Good but somehow out of date.

Next was Tuna Tataki with sea urchins

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As good as it sounds, good tuna belly perfectly cooked

Following came two oysters

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With oloroso sherry air and spicy tomato. The dish was good and well balanced with the sherry giving a nice touch.

Next was a foie grass mille feuille with goat cheese.

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A hommage to Berasategui's dish with green apple and caramel, but not as good as the master's classic dish.

Next was a can with clams, sea snails and other mollusques (sp?)

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I could have a ton of this, concha fina (local clam) and different sea snails with olive oil nitro pop-corn. This dish was both funny and delicious.

Ajoblanco with roasted pepper, caramel and litchis sorbet.

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Though it's weird name the dish really worked, delicious ajoblanco with red pepper caramel. The litchi sorbet was both sweet and refreshing.

Iberic pig's meat, fat and ear over manteca colorá.

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Delicious combination of different pig's fat that was so well executed that wasn't fatty at all. Really good.

Lentils with cod

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A nice adaptation of the traditional Easter potaje (stew), served in a mini Le Creuset casserole the lentils were stunning and the smoked cod was good though the texture wasn't my favourite.

Nitro witchcraft

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Pear nitro-sangría

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All this nitro show is staring to tire; it is the same in every restaurant, once you've seen it is always the same. There were two kids in the near table that went following the waiter calling him Harry Potter.

The waiter was throwing strawberry foam over the liquid nitrogen and building sangria which was nice and refreshing but too alcoholic for my taste.

Then a sea bass belly roasted over charcoal

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with the sea bass own fat burning over the charcoal and giving a smoked flavour to the belly in the tradition of the sardine espetos.

Followed by the sea bass itself.

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The seabass was good but farmed. It comes from a farm in the Guadalquivir river where they grow them in the old estero tradition.

Next dish on the menu was a pig's tail, but I changed it for the deep fried whole Dover sole, one of the innovations in the andalusian style fried fish.

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The sole arrives on a double Decker plate with the meat and the crunchy skin as a side dish. The sole is perfectly fried and the skin adds a salty and snack like taste.

Once you eat it the plate is removed and below appears the remaining sole in a light miso stock with potatoes and tomato.

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Subtle and delicious.

Then the desserts

Broken tocino de cielo, flan alike.

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El Torcal de Antequera

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Chocolate, orange and rum recreating a local rocky landscape.

Overall impression is very positive. It is worth to remark that after three hours of eating the meal was very enjoyable now that all menus seem boring and with the same dishes, here's someone with clever ideas and a modern interpretation of the andalusian traditions.

There are some reminiscences of Adrià and Berasategui mainly, but Dani García is a name to look in the future.


Rogelio Enríquez aka "Rogelio"

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Great report, Rogelio. Dani Garcia's work obviously goes well beyond the liquid nitrogen that he is most well known for. I had the opportunity to try the liquid nitrogen produced olive oil popcorn last November in California. Interesting in its own right, I think it works best as an accompaniment, such as what you had in the tin.

How long has Garcia been at Calima now? It is quite surprising given his reputation that he did not receive even a single Michelin star.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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How long has Garcia been at Calima now? It is quite surprising given his reputation that he did not receive even a single Michelin star.

Since September 2005.

You now how picky Michelin is in Spain.


Rogelio Enríquez aka "Rogelio"

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How long has Garcia been at Calima now? It is quite surprising given his reputation that he did not receive even a single Michelin star.

Since September 2005.

You now how picky Michelin is in Spain.

This would seem to be a prime example of that.


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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he is certainly the expert in fried fish but isn't the sole idea a copy of Huy Savoy's turbot-any French experts help me on this one?

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Nimzo, I don't know about Huy Savoy, but according to chemestry teacher and critic Raimundo García del Moral, the idea was developed by Dani and him based on the fritura style from Encarnación Godoy at Casa Joaquín, Almería. The aim is getting the fish skin, with scales, acting as a natural papillotte protecting the meat while it's being cooked at 182ºC in it's own steam without any oil contact.


Rogelio Enríquez aka "Rogelio"

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maybe he should open a restaurant in NYC, the stars will follow, and foodies here can taste all these great food without going all the way to Marbella.

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Had a long, four hour dinner at Calima yesterday. Huge expectations after being a fan since the Tragabuches years...

First of all - a beautiful setting. Literally ON the beach, overlooking the Mediterranean. Fantastic terrace, and some nice touches to the decor.

Service was not consistant, and I am personally allergic to NOT being told what is on the plate in front of me. We got the menu printed on a piece of (beautiful) paper - I would have appreciated some oral information aswell. All in all, not inspiring or confident dining room work - although attentive.

Food? I had basically the same menu as Rogelio above, and although ambitious I did not like it at all. For me, I am happy to eat food which is experimental, technical, difficult and wierd - but at the end of the day, it is all about taste. And in my book, Calima did not deliver the goods in that aspect last night. In terms of being "new andalucian", well yes, it was. Most dishes are new takes on classic southern Spain cooking - but in my opinion the only dish that was really improved by Dani and his team was turning the Urta into maki rolls. Sublime. Other than that - I found most other dishes quite bland, overly salted and without deeper thought. And when one of the best in the menu is the classic Fois Gras Mille Feuille, for me that is a sign that something in wrong.

Wines? The best part of the visit. We were taken on a tour of the (very interesting) new wine scene in southern Spain making some striking new acquaintances...

For me, location, ambitions and sommelier work live up to Michelin standard. But unfortunantely the most important part - the food - does not. Calima was a disappointment and it really saddens me.

:sad:

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I ate there about a year ago. I had some similar dishes. Spent a day working in the kitchen. For me I had one of the best meals in my entire life there. There was nothing gimmicky about my meal. Not everyone is going to agree on liking something but I would definitely not say that this meal was a let down or even close. I to this day still think about the meal I had there. It was truly inspiring. I also really admire his approach to cooking. Dani is from Marbella and he is reinterpreting Andalusian cuisine his own way. This place definitely deserves a Michelin star.

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Last saturday, Dani García was invited to cook at the "Hotel Golf Melià" in Girona, (in the same chain of Calima)

See the pictures and comments in jamondelbueno.blogspot.com

Ricard.

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