Marbella Club Hotel (Restaurant Club de Playa), Marbella – September 3, 2012

I really had been looking forward to re-visiting this place. Ever since our last visit a year ago I have corresponded a bit with the great waiter – Francisco Javier Doncel – in Spanish !!!  – Unfortunately he had other duties this day – it would have been great to see him again – hasta luego Javier, see you hopefully next time.

We were spoiled with a clear blue sky and 26 degrees celcius.

A few shots from the restaurant and surroundings.

The location, as good as it gets

The beach below

Our table, front row tickets you may say…

Now the 5 star hotel looks like a hotel, where I could survive a few days without a problem, and I can only wish that I will one day be able to afford a stay here. Beside a gastronomic restaurant inside, the attration is the beach club, which has a buffet second to none. Everything is so fresh with an eye for detail and with a great presentation. Beside the cold buffet you have a barbeque where fish of all kinds and meat are prepared to your liking.

Great olives and roasted almonds and a bottle of Rueda…while the boys took a swim

Oscar where he likes to be the most

Emil preferred the slighly smaller version

Back to the other reason for our visit. The incredible lunch that was waiting for us. I greeted the chef, who at least seemed to remember me, and he was on his toes as soon as I – por favour – asked for a plate of Pata Negra and some grilled lenguados for the boys.

A proud chef

At your service…

Freshly cut pata negra.

What to choose…

The quality is really outstanding. I dont even know where to start, – only by saying that I only tried a fraction of it. The artichokes amazing, as the lobster and langoustines. The chef asked me if he could propose a little plate of something for us – I did not understand what he meant, but I was pretty confident we were gonna like it. And man did we like it. We loved it. Simply the most perfectly cooked langoustines of a kind. Grilled around 1 minute only, just enough to leave the colour – but still ever so moist and tender. Best plate I have had in a long long time. All you need is actully good produce and a chef who knows his techniques.

If that doesn´t make you happy…

Oscar loving his sole, not so much the spinach..

Round two from the buffet

This time I actually also tried the paella, which was very nice. I did not manage any grilled fish or meat – my belly was full. The kids had been looking forward to the desserts. As Oscar had informed us…Im going to have my favourite dessert again. Strawberries, raspberries and whipped cream. As it turned out the strawberries were the only flaw of the day, being a bit boring, tired…but the raspberries…have never tasted sweeter or better.

Oscar was a happy chappy

Emil opted for chocolate…

I do think that Emil had three rounds of desserts (!) These two, and two pieces more….

A look at the beach and the Jetty, and it was time to ask for the bill. After 4 hours in Paradise.

End of season, quiet beach

The bar is extended onto the jetty.

Conclusion:

Our visit this time was even better foodwise than last time. We were graced with the visit to our table by Uncle Rudi, previous director and co-founder of the hotel. He was celebrating the birthday of his wife at the table next to us and he came over to congratulate us on our choice of restaurant and me of my beautiful wife. What a nice person and gentleman he was. I bet he had a story or two to tell. Next time maybe Uncle Rudi.

The service is impecable, the settings pure holiday feeling with a classic luxury touch. I thank you again Torben for showing me this spot in the first place.

I shall re-post the great shot I took of our dear friend Javier last year

We missed Javier this time as I mentioned, but if money allows it Javier, please be sure to find us back next year.

My rating for this visit: Food 8p (10), service 5p (5), ambience 5p (5), 1 extra happiness point for a day in Paradise – Total Score 19p (20)

Advertisements

My favourite restaurants 2011 !

And the FWRR awards 2011  goes to….

The below list is most likely also my all-time favourite list. But I will update the list next year and see if there are movements. Most of the restaurants on the list all gave me some memorable lunches or dinners in 2011. Some are still so present in my memory from earlier vistis that I cannot disregard them. So if I had 10 restaurants to re-visit on this planet, this would be my choices today.

1. Schloss Berg, Nennig. Bau continue to improve his cooking to perfection. I like everything about this place, the ambience, the service – the food and wines top notch.

1 - Schloss Berg - The Champion

2. Sölleröd Kro, Copenhagen Now had this pearl been in France it would be a 3 star michelin – but as it is – its in Denmark and thus “only” have 1. Jan Restorff is the best maitre in the world.

2 -Sölleröd Kro - runner up

3. Lameloise, Chagny Frederic Lamy and his team in the service makes sure the perfect food from the kitchen is delivered and presentated to perfection.

3 - Lameloise

4. Le Cinq, Paris. Not visited this year, but I cannot and will not leave it out of my list. Its simply too good. Maybe in 2012. One can always dream. 2 star michelin rating. No food photo – but a photo I never get tired of. Oscar and the missus meeting Bruce Springsteen, just outside Le Cinq.

4. Le Cinq - well actually Bruce Springsteen meets Oscar...

5. Restaurant Babette, Vordingborg – Henrik and Brian in the front and Vivi and her team in the kitchen make sure your dining experience is close to perfect. Being in rural Denmark, 1 hour from Copenhagen i.e. it has no michelin star rating but I am sure it would have at least 1 in France.

5 -Restaurant Babette

A shared 5th place go to

5. Der Butt, Warnemünde. 1 Star michelin rating. Tillman Hahn in the kitchen and all is well in the world. The dinner we had here last summer was outstanding, and even better than the years before.

5 -Der Butt

7. Restaurant Clairefontaine, Luxembourg. When Arnaud Magnier is good, he is really good. He is for sure the best chef in Luxembourg, and he often surprices you with combinations or presentations you would never dream of – but afterwards you will. Take a look at the the Cordon Bleu Revisited below and you will know what I mean. 1 star michelin rating.

7 - Restaurant Clairefontaine

8. Restaurant Rosin, Wulfen. Visiting Frank Rosin in his newly awarded 2 star michelin restaurant was something else than expected. Very down to earth cooking. Beautiful settings, and a wine list among the best I have seen in Germany.

8 - Restaurant Rosin

9. Bouquet Garni, Luxembourg. Thierry Duhr is among the best chefs in Luxembourg, and this adress is probably the most romantic gastronomic restaurant with its stone walls, and open fire in the evening. 1 star michelin rating.

9 - Bouquet Garni

10. Hotel Marbella Club, Marbella. For sure worth a visit. Javier Doncel, or the other waiters will treat you as a king, And you will be stunned by the quality of the food and surroundings. No michelin rating.

10 - Marbella Club Hotel, The Beach Club Restaurant

Enough gastronomy….

I shall finish the list of with some Brasserie style restaurants – but they all managed to impress me – some of them once some of them repeatedly..

1. Bullerei, Hamburg. Tim Mälzer and or his team, produces simple food, but with an outstanding price/quality, super friendly staff and an ambience I simply fell for. A surprice on the list, but the evening I spend there was really something. No michelin rating.

        1 – Bullerei – perfect beef

2. L´annexe, Luxembourg. Award winning in two categories, Jerome with J.P., Sebastien and Christophe in the front and “Miche” and his team in the kitchen provide you with super Brasserie food and you always feel welcome no matter how crowded the place is. And believe me, it can get very crowded. No michelin rating.

                       2 – L´Annexe

3. Ill Riccio, Luxembourg. Tano and Tina holds this restaurant in firm hands. Luca is slowly taking over the responsibilities, and he is everything you could wish for in a host. Its a TINY restaurant with a large menu, good wine list. The kitchen is very flexible and will cook just about anything you ask for. Easily my favourite Italian restaurant. No michelin rating.

3 - Ill Riccio

I am thankful forall the good friends that shared the moments with me along the way in 2011. Rock on….

Marbella Club Hotel (Restaurant Club de Playa), Marbella – October 31, 2011

So happy to be back at this place – and more importantly happy to be able to show the missus this little piece of paradise on earth.  We could not have chosen a better day. Clear blue sky, an almost empty pool for the boys to enjoy and a not conpletely full restaurant. It was clearly the end of the season.

We were as always early, so we went for the bar, and the boys went for the pool. A moment of stress occured when I could not find my wallet with all the holiday money and then some. I went back to the car, but no luck. A strange looking person had just passed close to our table and the waiter had warned us not to leave bags close to the windows. So…what to do? The missus went back to the car to take a second look, while I drank a chilled beer, seeing some moment of distress ahead. But as most of the time…the worries were uncalled for, and the misssus returned with the wallet.

The boys already in and out of the pool were having the time of their life. I got to see Oscar swim for the first time, proudly showing off….

Oscar can swim...

and dive...

Emil having fun too..

The waiter at the bar, went for some huge towels….great service. Second beer and wine was ordered. Thanks for everything Carlos…

Before service...peace and quiet, except for the boys in the pool.

Roasted almonds and olives were handed...and eaten..

The missus looking for a drink and at the beautiful beach below.

As I mentioned in my previous review of this place, the lunch here is buffet only at a price of 70 eur per adult and 40 per child. Now that is expensive for Spain. But the quality of the buffet is second to none, also on this visit and the extras you want to order are all incuded. We ordered some pata negra ham and filets of grilled sole for the boys. I took a larger selection of goodies from the buffet than last time, and furthermore grilled slices of filet of Beef – and also tried the desserts. So we did not leave hungry. I think we arrived around noon and left some 3-4 hours later. During that entire period, we had been taken care of by the excellent army of waiters…especially my new amigo Javier Doncel who was just so damn good. Making sure everything was to our liking at all times.

Our table...just waiting for us to indulge.

The missus with Javier, the best Spanish waiter of 2011 🙂

Oscar with his Strawberries and cream...

Conclusion:

There is no way the boys could ever had eaten for 40 eur – not even combined lol. So the price for them was too much you may ask. Yes off course it was, but on the other hand they spend a perfect day in paradise, and if you compare to a day in Legoland or Tivoli I think it was a better deal. The mount of fun the same, the amount of stress for them and their parents – not to be compared….lol. This was heaven in that respect. The only amount of stress that day was the missing wallet. Even the 90 min drive home was managed with a big smile. I was glad we made the trip and the missus was impressed by it all. I do think that the food this time had minor flaws in compare to the first time, but some of it was to die for and I shall focus on those in my warm memories as winter is now approacing rapidly. So Javier, thanks for your attention. Looking forward to see you and your colleagues again, hopefully soon.

Bridge over troubled water....

Emil with a rare BIG smile....

My rating for this visit: Food 7.5p (10), service 5p (5), ambience 5p (5), 1 extra happiness point courtesy of Javier – Total Score 18.5p (20)

Marbella Club (Club de Playa), Marbella – February 2011

Coming back to Spain for the first time in what seemed like a hundred years, I was invited to a lunch at this little pearl on the Costa del Sol. Its a beautiful hotel, with a small road leading down to the restaurant a few stairs above the beach.

Spain showed its beautiful side, granting us 20 degrees celcius and clear blue sky. Somewhat different from the frosty Luxembourg I had left the evening before.

The lunch buffet is prized at 70 eur which I guess is pretty damn high for Spanish standard. But let me just start by saying that every eur is truly justified. EVERYTHING on the large buffet is fresh. EVERYTHING. Any request is met with a smile and an effort to please.

We ordered pata negra, grilled langoustines and grilled sole. We were invited to have a look at the buffet while waiting for the fish….and soon covered our plates with freshly grilled vegetables, salads, artichokes etc. etc. etc.. It was simply not possible to resist this.

A chilled Marquis de Riscal, Sauvignon Blanc at around 30 eur was the perfect companion.

It later turned out that the 70 EUR did indeed cover the whole meal, the buffet, the pata negra, the grilled langoustines, the grilled scampis, the perfectly cooked sole (which came with freshly steamed spinach and potatoes on the side.

We never ever got a chance to taste the “postres”, – it was “nada mas” but they looked just as fresh and deli as the rest.

The service was outstanding, the meal a blast, the weather as good as one could hope for. Dining in the sun in February, a chilled wind, blue sky, ocean view, chilled wine. What more do you want in life. A small walk down the stairs and you are at the beach…

Conclusion

If you need a great meal for lunch in Marbella, a little bit of heaven. Go there….but be sure to book on week-ends and during the high season. Indulge in the fresh produce and great service while your children swim  in the pool or play at the beach.

It was easily one of the best lunches I have ever had in Spain, and for sure the best buffet I have ever seen in my life. I cant wait to bring the family here, knowing it will take a while, I wish it was tomorrow. On another note the lunch we had was even surpassed by one – a few days later – at a small club in Sotogrande, but thats another story. But that only makes the yearning tougher.

The service was flawless, the lunch outstanding and way beyond any expectations I could have ever had.

My rating for this visit: Food 8p (10), service 5p (5), ambience 5p (5), total score for this visit  18p (20)