08 Mar Malaga’s Michelin star at José Carlos García
I’m attracted by stars. Michelin stars. Food cooked with passion, art, skill, theatre & using top-quality produce to create life-long memories. Or at least that’s how I justified eating in Malaga at Michelin-starred restaurant, José Carlos García, or JCG Restaurante, as it is called.
The restaurant is located in Malaga’s modern harbour redevelopment, Muelle Uno, and a short walk from the multi-coloured cube of the Pompidou Centre.
I was welcomed at the entrance by the restaurant staff and a bust of Picasso, born in Malaga on the same day as me, 25 October.
José Carlos García was also born in Malaga, in 1976, 95 years after Picasso, and this is his only restaurant… always a good sign for me.
Seated at a large oak table, with a little olive-wood stool to put my bag on, I exclaimed to the waiter when he broke the news that the tasting menu was made up of 23 dishes: “I’m wearing my tight jeans!”
I don’t usually wear jeans to posh restaurants, but they were black and I was wearing my Christian Laboutin shoes to make up for them.
Picasso had told a Vogue reporter back in the 1960s that his favourite dishes were eel stew and tortilla niçoise. Neither of these were on the JCG menu.
Ordering wine by the glass is always restrictive, unless the restaurant uses Coravin, but I only wanted one glass, so I was advised to go for El Lagar de Cabrera, a dry young white wine from the Sierra de Malaga and made from Moscatel de Alejandria grapes, good for seafood.
Also on the wine list were 3 champagnes whose makers I had met on my recent trip to the Champagne region: Marie Courtin, Fred Savart & Alexandre Chartogne-Taillet.
Menu highlights at JCG
- Liquified Aloreña ‘olive’ served with seaweed & caviar ‘crunchies’ (course 1)
- Andalusian style mackerel followed by a little cup of miso-based soup (course 2).
- Purple sea urchins done in a mouse, and razor sharp clams sprinkled with the most amazing olive oil (course 3).
- Thinly sliced raw scallops with citrus and mustard, served on the kind of paper that reminded me of that used to wrap polverones, a type of Spanish sweet (course 7).
- Chickpea hummus (course 11).
- Confit of piglet with yellow soy beans (course 13)
- ALL the desserts… the balance of tastes were so exquisite, with the citrus (course 15), the spices (course 16), and then the ‘chocolate passion’ (course 17), which was one pure bomb of pleasure.
The courses missing from the photos were the prawn ravioli, the Malaga gazpacho and the sweets served with the coffee. Yes, I know that that does not add up to 23, but then several courses had several dishes.
The only course I did not like was No 14… offal dim sum with a pico de gallo, a finely chopped salad of tomatoes, onion & coriander.
Now I don’t like offal (I was asked about any intolerances or dislikes & I could have mentioned this)… the smell and taste is too strong for me, but then my yoga teacher says we should embrace the duality of life, so I did & I ate it all… despite the tight trousers.
And the cost… €149, all inclusive, so £115 or US$164… ouch, it hurts, but it was worth it.
To come … what else I did in Malaga.