Address: Puerto de Málaga, Plaza de la Capilla, 1, 29016 Málaga, Spain
Visit: 12 October 2023
Award: 1 Michelin Star
The promenade at the Port of Malaga is known as Muelle Uno, extending from the Pompidou Centre to La Farola Street (the lighthouse of Malaga). At Muelle you will find Jose Carlos Garcia’s Restaurant, which has earned one Michelin Star.
Jose Carlos Garcia started working with his parents in the family business and ended up training in the main cooking schools of Malaga. After ten years as Head Chef at Cafe de Paris where he gained a Michelin Star in 2002, he opened his own restaurant in Malaga in 2012. The restaurant was awarded one Michelin Star in the Michelin Guide Spain 2013 and has two Suns in the Repsol Guide (a gastronomic guide of Spain and Portugal).
Overlooking the luxury yachts in the Muelle Uno dock, the restaurant has an open-plan space with the kitchen enclosed in a glass cube so customers and passersby can watch the chefs in action. It has an industrial design combined with vertical gardens and a Laurent Perrier Champagne Terrace.
When we visited there were two menus available and an extensive wine list. The green coloured Menu JCG 2023, 219 Euros per person with an optional wine pairing at 105 Euros, and the shorter black coloured menu, the Station and Proximity Products Menu, at 139 Euros per person, with an optional wine pairing at 79 Euros, and an optional cheese selection at 9.50 Euros per person. The black menu was a shorter version of the green menu, but with 12 courses, including bread and petit fours, instead of the full 16 courses. We chose the black menu with the paired wines.
The first round of three appetizers included a very good wheat flower, coated with basil powder, and decorated with sour cream, sundried tomato paste, and smoked sardine. Then there was a crispy paella with a saffron allioli. Finally, there was a traditional Andalucean polvoron made with sunflower seeds and sunflower oil. This is a type of heavy, soft, and very crumbly Spanish shortbread made of flour, sugar, milk, and nuts. It was presented in a twist of paper that you were asked to squeeze together first, to form the biscuit, before you opened and eat it. The polvoron had a very crumbly texture that was not particularly appetizing. We were also served some very good artisan sourdough bread and brown bread, with oil and butter.
The next round of three appetizers included a very good corn souffle with zurrapa (made from lomo, or loin of Iberian pork, fried in pork fat, flavoured with herbs and spices, and coloured with pimentón) and lemon caviar on top. There was also a mushroom cappuccino made entirely from mushrooms, including trompette de la mort (black chanterelle), bolete, and Japanese mushrooms, with cacao powder sprinkled on top. This had very little flavour. Finally, there was a “piggy chorizo” sponge cake which also had little flavour.
The final appetizer was an excellent eel filo pastry tartlet with beetroot gel, eel mousse, smoked eel and lemon gel. This had great flavour and, for me, was the best appetizer of the meal.
Next, was a Malaga shrimp tartar, served with avocado, pearls of raspberry, miso and fried garlic, and Leche de Tigre which was a mixture of the marinades and oils including coconut milk, lime and orange, chive oil, prawn oil, and black squid ink oil. This was sensational. Fresh prawns served tartar with a superb sauce, great flavours, and for me, the best course of the meal.
This was followed by a “porra” which is a gazpacho soup consisting of tomato and dried breadcrumbs to add texture. It was served with a smoked sardine salad, mustard seeds, candied tomatoes, cucumber, and radish. Another fabulous dish with typical Andalucian flavours.
Next was a very good king prawn raviolo, with foie gras sauce, a truffle foam, and black truffle shavings.
Grilled sea bass was served on an allioli sauce, with a celery cream, spinach gel, and topped with an adobo foam. Adobo is the immersion of cooked food in a stock (or sauce) often composed of paprika, oregano, salt, garlic, and vinegar to preserve and enhance its flavour. The fish was cooked accurately, served with crispy skin, and served with a superb foam.
The meat course was Iberian sirloin of pork, with a sauce of honey, beetroot, onion, black garlic and saffron, and served with beetroot. The pork was perfectly cooked medium rare, with great flavour.
The pre-dessert was a take on a pina colada cocktail using cubes of pineapple, white chocolate cream, Malibu coconut rum foam, shavings of lime peel, and pearls of fermented pineapple. An excellent transition from savoury to sweet.
The main dessert was pears poached in red wine, strawberry reduction, cinnamon and nutmeg, and served with a butter cookie, honey gel, and sheep milk ice cream.
Finally, there was a selection of petit fours.
The food at Restaurant Jose Carlos Garcia was innovative and perfectly reflected the tastes of Malaga. The wine pairing was well chosen and worked well with the food. Apart from a few niggles about some of the appetizers, this was a superb meal, with some exceptional dishes such as the prawn tartar and the sea bass. The service was top-drawer, and the waiters were very friendly, and took time to explain the dishes to me. If you visit Malaga, I recommend you visit as you won’t be disappointed.
The full menu JCG 2023
The “Station and Proximity Products Menu”:
Outside the restaurant:
Inside the restaurant:
The kitchen viewed from outside: