Tuesday, August 24, 2004

El lago

El Lago restaurant is situated in the midst of an appartment complex in Elvira, some 12 km east of Marbella. It offers modern innovative cusine in attractive surroundings. Next to it is an artificial lake which is the focal point of the Elivira Hills estate. Our flat is situated in this area, so I have visisted on a number of occasions, and it is usually very good. I like to think of it as the local version of Tragabuches in Ronda.

Being alone in a place this it is often difficult to find wine to match the food, as it is preferable to pair each course with a suitable wine. The selection of halfbottles and glass by the wine, I requested the sommelier to serve what he thought best, which usually works fine.

My table was in the remote corner of the outside terrace, and only one other table was occupied when I arrived at 20:30. I started off with a glass of Cava and a small tray filled with various fried vegetable crisps and a pastry stick adourned with a parmesan flower sticking up from a shot glass filled with various forms of rice arrived. Crisp and interesting flavours, and it kept me busy to.

Bread arrived, various rolls and very thin freshly made and still warm grissini like sticks.

Then arrived a tray filled with appetizers as well as a glass of Möet & Chandon Rosé champagne. A small shot glass with an orange and tangerine gaspacho, unusual but perfectly balanced. A spoon of gooselivermousse with caramelised wine, delicious. A spoon with avocado mousse, wasabi and marinated salmon, interesting combination. Fresh. A large mussle marinated in some flavoured vinegar, actually very tasty, which is not normally the case.

Next, Ajo Blanco (cold) with a piece of lukewarm qails breast sitting on top of a vegetable brunoise (carrot and leek) mixed with other parts of the quail. A revelation. Perfect.

A classic, which they allways seem to have in one form or the other, came next. “Alternate layers of chicken breast, fois gras and caramelized apple” was good but somewhat on the sweet side for my palate. The dish is very interesting though. A mini sandwich, two triangles, consisting of a top layer of crisp caramel, apple, liver, chicken, liver, chicken and raw apple with a purée of apples and specs of vanilla.

The fish was a grouper with snowpeas and beans and a foam of these vegetables. Very elegant, a small piece of fish cooked to perferction with a tasty reduction of its cooking juices. The star of the night. Served with a glass of Saviugnon Blanc from Castilla la Mancha which was a perfect match.

The meat, duck with fois gras, mango was allright, but not perfect. When enquiring about the menu I was sceptical about this. Next time I will follow my instinct. To go was a red wine which was way to warm, and which was duly sent back. Sad thing.

With the desserts I was offered a glass of sweet wine from Malaga, Pedro Ximinez, which was very good. Reminded me of Banyouls.

The first dessert was a cup filled with lemon tart stuffing, strawberries and cream. Perfect, if like me, you feel like the ordinary lemon tart is a bit heavy. Excellent.

A perfect chocholate fondant was next followed with an assortment of fruits. As near perfection as you can get (mind you, I’m normally not much of a dessert fellow). Here, the Ximinex wine excelled.

Ristretto, by this time the restaurant had filled up completely, mostly of Spaniards.

All in all, a very good meal, I wonder when Michelin comes knocking...


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