Bijou or not Bijou, that was the question, now for the answer16-11-2009
Tucked away behind Ricardo Soriano, a stone´s throw from the old town and in a small quaint square is Bijou Bar Bistro, the latest addition to Marbella´s culinary scene.
Before you start rolling your eyes at the thought of yet another restaurant and “more of the same” (average food with not so average prices), Bijou is actually refreshingly different, and surprisingly, a place where quality does not necessarily indicate an exorbitant price.
Bijou has a stylish, contemporary yet intimate feel and exudes a quiet elegance with soft lighting offering a warm, welcoming glow. The menu is a difficult one for the mere fact that the sound of everything tantalized the taste buds; innovative cuisine with a varied selection of some traditional favourites and more than a touch of creative flair thrown in. Thankfully Richard Dall, the Executive Chef, sent out a selection of appetizers removing any difficult choices.
The delicious “Tempura King Prawns” were a colourful combination of fat, juicy tempura prawns served over crisp salad leaves with sundried tomatoes, beetroot, chives, pickled ginger and an oyster sauce with all the flavours working in perfect harmony. The fresh “Finely sliced Tuna” followed which was served carpaccio style with watercress, pickled daikons and onions - the sweetness of which made a nice contrast to the tuna and the slight heat of the creamy wasabi mayonnaise which was not overly “picante”. My only comment was that the tuna could have been sliced even finer and that the spice of the wasabi could have gone up a notch.
The “Chicken Liver & Foie Gras Paté” with Campari Aspic was an interesting dish which worked very well. The smooth creamy texture of the paté was contrasted nicely with the bitterness of the campari aspic and the sweetened raspberries. It was a generous portion and would have easily served two people.
Finally Richard sent out a dreamily smooth and creamy “Bisque of Gambas” infused with Rouille and topped with Garlic Croûtons, a touch of sambal complemented the bisque with a gentle tingle of spice without being overpowering.
All of the starters were beautifully presented and perfectly opened the palate for the rest of the night´s gastronomic journey. The “Rack of New Zealand Lamb” was pink, succulent and tender with a green herb crust and a delicious pea, mint and mustard puree that was served with fresh seasonal vegetables - the broccoli was a minute over cooked but that is just me being overly critical. The homemade chive mashed potatoes were a little dry and were slightly disappointing after such an excellent dish however they would have been enhanced by a little extra sauce which we could have requested. The plate was beautifully presented and my only comment was that there was some sort of sweetness needed with the lamb.
The Asian influenced “Seared Red Tuna Steak” was a delicious aromatic dish that worked beautifully. The delicately cooked tuna was served over a bed of thick noodles with shiitake mushrooms, crunchy green asparagus and a homemade Teriyaki sauce, (again, I would have preferred a little more sauce).
The dishes were all perfectly seasoned and had a nice balance of sweet, sour, spice and salt. The food was both complex and simple, juxtaposing unusually creative combinations of flavours, textures and colours that worked together harmoniously whilst retaining the essence of the food itself.
The wine list although not extensive has some well priced favourites (a bottle of Veuve Cliquot for 59€ and the Laurrent Perrier Rose at 95€) as well as a very decent house wine, “Palacio de Arganza” (12.50€). The Viña Cimbron Sauvignon Blanc was a really easily drinkable white, grassy with a hint of lychee, worth trying and good value at 18.50€.
I am very discerning when it comes to the sweet things in life and the desserts were certainly no after thought. The “Chocolate Fondant” has been done over and over however this one, with it´s perfectly molten chocolate lava centre, and good quality chocolate, raspberry coulis and crunch coated yoghurt ice cream (slightly sour, perfect contrast in taste and texture to the fondant) was sublime, whilst the “Crème Brûlée” had the just right the amount of vanilla with the burnt sugar lightly golden and anything but burnt! The Irish Coffee was second to none and definitely worth ordering!
30€ will get a delicious 3 course meal with wine, with starters from 3.50€ to the most expensive, Carpaccio of Irish Beef Fillet at 7.50€.
As the name suggests, “Bijou” is a veritable jewel in the heart of Marbella and so whether it be dinner with the girls or à deux, a group gathering, or even if you just fancy appetizers and a drink at the bar, Bijou is the perfect choice and my new favourite hang out!
Restaurant Review at a glance: (1 to 10 i´s of success)
Ambiance 7 i´s
Service 7 i´s
Portion Size 8 i´s
Wine Selection 7 i´s
Price vs. Quality 7 i´s
Overall 8 i´s (feel good factor after paying the bill)
Bijou, Bar Bistro, Marbella – November 2009
+34 952 77 64 68
6 Plaza Juan de la Rosa – Marbella
By: Nicola Vieira Rodrigues
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I have recently eaten at Bijou and could not fault it in any way. The presentation and flavours were superb and the meal excellent value. I will certainly return.
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