15 Feb REVIEW: ATICO Bar and Restaurant (Málaga)
Since all the budget airlines started servicing Málaga from Edinburgh, the missus and I have used the deceptively large city as a hub whenever we visit her sister in Seville (an hour-long, and rather scenic, train journey separates the two). With two visits under my belt already, it is likely that we shall frequent this pretty port town more often over the coming years.
I’ll delve into the greater Málaga to-do list in another post, but for now I will reflect on our last visit, which was a full in-laws weekend away, in particular our Valentines weekend dinner at the panoramic ATICO Bar and Restaurant located on the roof of our hotel, the impressive Marriott AC Málaga Palacios.
Admittedly I could have done without the drama that preceded this meal. Having arrived at the hotel on Friday afternoon, the Stamp family patriarch proceeded to book us in for dinner on Saturday night, a great idea given the stunning views of Málaga cathedral, old town and waterfront to be had. When it came to Saturday evening we rocked up only to find that our booking had not been made and, after some ten minutes of deliberating, we discovered that the reception had booked us in for the following Saturday. A full four days after we had checked out and returned to the UK.
With credit to the waiting staff who had to decipher our flustered, and slightly inebriated, English, they promptly booked us in for the Sunday night and assured us they would provide ‘something special’.
Fast forward to Sunday evening and we are back in the same room, greeted by the same waiter (they know us… phew!) and seated at a lovely table in corner of the predominantly-windowed restaurant, with views both south and east. The sun is setting and after that we will have a wonderful intake of the city lights.
We cracked open a bottle of bubbly as we dug into the complimentary olive bowls that accompany every Spanish meal. Until that point I had been struggling to get on board with olives – they don’t taste awful yet they don’t taste great; something about them just doesn’t sit right with my palate. However these were no ordinary olives. No, no, these were super olives, capable of passing even the most stubborn of palates, breaking down all sorts of barriers in their wake. Less firm than the majority (read: all) I had tried before this, and dowsed in garlic and paprika. Wow these were lovely.
Next followed the waiter’s aforementioned ‘something special’, an unexpected entrée of Octopus, Anchovy and Tomato Bread, and the ‘special’ adjective was not unwarranted. Well-cooked octopus, packed with flavour, complimented by the salty fresh anchovy and the light cake-like carbs of the tomato bread married together in true Spanish style. It was a lovely touch that has us all forgiving the previous night’s debacle.
For starters I went for luxury. Foie Ingot with “Pacharan” (sweet liqueur from Navarra) Caramel and Blueberry Jam (€14,00)…
I’m not ashamed to say I enjoy foie gras, and have appreciated it not nearly enough as I would like. The first time I tried it – in four variations in Budapest over ten years ago – remained the best I had experienced… until now. Sliced into blocks and bound in silver and gold leaf, the foie was utterly delectable – so velveteen and rich and served with ginger-infused toast. Even the in-laws (I had presumed solid no-nos) were taken by it. Should be a while before it’s rivalled again.
Onward came the mains, for which I plumped for Kid from Malaga “au armañac” style and Fondant Potatoes (€18,00). Again I have only had goat once before, but it was so, so awesome and the influence in my choice. And again this meal surpassed the previous experience. Served in (what I thought was) rib and shoulder form, the serving had an element of fat to it, but this only served to enhance the flavour, which I struggle to compare to anything else I’ve tried – the closest I can think of is rabbit but even then the comparison is loose. The potatoes seemed more like deconstructed dauphinoise than fondant, but it mattered not, and the Armagnac sauce complimented the meat incredibly.
The only down side to the main was that I was so utterly drawn in by it that I completely forgot to take any pictures – blogger rookie error, I do apologise! Instead please enjoy this photo of a goat and the missus’ dinner, “Rabo de Toro” (Bull Tail) Timbale with Mashed Potatoes ‘au’ Olive Oil and Sauce ‘au juice’ (€16,50), which was also fantastic;
The in-laws enjoyed an assortment of chocolaty desserts, however, after two of the most exquisite courses, I was done.
If the above descriptions and pictures do not do it enough justice, let me go on record as saying this was one of the best meals I have had… period. Not in Málaga. Not in Spain. Not in Europe.
I can’t recommend highly enough the favours you would do yourself in reserving a table at ATICO should you find yourself in the city for the evening. Málaga already has a respectable number of eateries to try, but if you’re looking for something particularly special, particularly tasty, this is the place.
Fantana Score: 9