Simple elegance at MC Cafe13-12-2009
So often within first class hotels the restaurants let the side down and there is that certain something lacking, dining at the MC Café however was a really satisfying experience on many levels, but most of all for the excellent simplicity of the food itself.
Ambient music played gently in the background of the stylish cool, clean surroundings, black and white photos of the rich and famous adorn the walls, and polished glasses glinted in the daylight over starched white table cloths with Italian silverware, whilst a professional, attentive staff immaculately turned out in black, waited inconspicuously in the background… underlying attention to detail evident throughout.
The menu offers traditional favourites served with a modern, yet creative twist – comfort food within the realms of fine dining. A theme of Asian influence entwined with some English favourites (from Cumberland sausages and Fish & Chips to Fillet of Sole in Miso Broth and the inventive Himalayan Salt Plate). Whilst the Thalaso Spa menu, (stating the calories for those with a more conscientious palate), still managed to sound intensely appealing.
We began our dining experience with a selection of warm homemade breads, little pillows of the lightest onion bread served with rich olive oil and a black olive tapenade. As this is not a restaurant dedicated to Sushi I would not ordinarily have ordered it, however JT, (John Thompson) the Food & Beverage Manager, insisted and we were not disappointed. The Maki Tempura with prawns was not only excellent but beautifully presented and with an attention to detail that sets is apart from many Japanese restaurants. The dish itself was meticulous and detail orientated, served with three different types of roe and the merest dash of a light wasabi sauce on each piece to compliment the flavour and the presentation, a perfect balance of ingredients. Whilst the Maki Tigre served in a crispy, delicate batter was a generous portion of 11 pieces presented with the finest filaments of guindilla. One might be forgiven for thinking that rice is an easy thing to cook, but done well it is an art and the rice was perfect. The sushi had finesse about it, whilst the ginger was an explosion in the mouth.
The pan fried scallops were beautifully presented with a small salad of fresh leaves, sun dried tomatoes and freshly crumbled parmesan cheese in a light, mustard vinaigrette served within a pastry basket on the Himalayan Salt Plate. The salt plate is a new innovation at the MC Café and resembles a beautiful pink thick slab of rose quartz, as its name suggests it is actually made of salt and means that the natural flavour of the plate gently infuses the food without it becoming salty while the food is kept hot without over cooking it. The scallops were exquisite and would have scored a perfect 10 on their own for their freshness, flavour and the fact that they were perfectly cooked. My only slight criticism was that the accompanying salad, although equally delicious, was a little over powering for the delicacy of the scallops. I would not hesitate to order the dish again, the only thing I would say is to eat the scallops first and then the salad.
The King Prawn Tempura was served over a little basket of Chinese noodles and finest sliced vegetables with a Thai sauce (again the Asian fusion between a traditionally Japanese dish served with a Thai sauce). Admittedly by the time that this had been photographed we did not eat it at the optimum moment and the noodles were slightly overcooked however I would put my money on the fact that they came out of the kitchen perfectly, the prawns were beautifully succulent and coated in a nice light tempura batter.
JT then sent out an Entrecote with antique mustard and the lightest of hollandaise sauces (again served on the Himalayan Salt plate) saying that we just had to try it, again he was not wrong as the quality of the meat was faultless, tender and flavoursome. Thanks to Sara our informed server we learnt that the meat came from Northern Spain, it seems that too frequently meat from Argentina or Ireland is so a la mode and it begs the question, why source outside of Spain when we have such excellent quality here? Both the Antique Mustard (which was more of a glaze than a sauce) and the fresh thyme not only enhanced the presentation but were a nice compliment to the meat whilst the Hollandaise Sauce although was the lightest that I have ever tasted, it was superfluous to the dish.
Nor were the vegetables an afterthought, which is so often my complaint here in Spain (how many times have you had a spectacular piece of meat or fish to have it served with some overcooked, tasteless vegetables?!); the mange tout were perfectly crunchy and were tossed with scallions and baby tomatoes (although I am a purist when it comes to my vegetables, I could live with them being slightly buttered) and served over broad beans with a mere hint of olive oil.
How we managed to even contemplate dessert at this point is beyond me (ay ay ay the trials and tribulations of writing a full review!!!). The rich fudgy Brownie with white chocolate had a smooth texture and was complimented by the mango sorbet, an Almond and Sesame tuile and pistachios adding a contrast in texture and enhancing the presentation. The Pavlova, although served nicely with an almond tuile and sweet strawberries, was overly dry and hard (maybe I am a bit biased as my Mum makes a spectacular Pavlova!).
There was a great selection of teas and infusions and good quality coffee all served with delicious little home made biscuits – again a testament to detail.
The wine list was extensive and although the house white was average (Acantus Sauvignon Blanc from Castilla 4.50€ glass / 17€ bottle), it is unlikely that you are going to scrimp on a few Euros in a place like this with some perfectly excellent wines on the menu.
There was a good selection of Spanish whites from successful wine regions as well as four of the French classics (Pouilly-Fuisse Bouchard Pere et Fils 56€, Chablis 1er Cru (Montmains) Chanson 73€, Pouilly-Fume Ladoucette 76€, Puligny Montrachet 1er Cru Olivier Leflaive 117€) and amongst other wines a nice Italian Pinto-Grigio Marchesi and a fantastic Cloudy Bay from New Zealand that is not on the menu however if you ask nicely you might just get a bottle!
On the red front, pretty much every good Spanish wine region is represented with some Ribera del Duero and Rioja classics as well as a nice selection of French wines including a Chateau Latour 1993 at 850€ (unfortunately we did not get to open a bottle of this during our meal!!!). The 2007 Lindenmans Bin nº 50 Syrah from Australia at 39€ is as Johnny put it, pound to slurp ratio not bad and the Magnum of Vega Sicilia “Unico” will set you back 1315€ but is worth every penny!
There were some reasonably priced Cavas (Rovellast Gran RVA at 7€ a glass) whilst the house champagne is Pol Roger 99€ / glass 12€ and what wine list would be complete without Moet & Chandon 116€ and Laurent Perrier Rosé 163€.
Our meal really was first-rate and although the desserts were not bad, they were a bit of a let down after the excellence of the other dishes. All in all the dishes exuded a simple elegance, there was definitely a philosophy of getting back to the basics in a sophisticated way and the simplicity, freshness and natural flavour of the food was emphasized rather than being drowned in rich sauces. The food simply put had “taste good” factor and that, while eating in a cool, clean stylish place led to a very pleasant dining experience.
Restaurant Review at a glance: (1 to 10 i´s of success) Overall 9 i´s (feel good factor after paying the bill)
Ambiance 8 i´s
Service 9 i´s
Portion Size 9 i´s
Wine Selection 9 i´s
Price vs. Quality 9 i´s
Restaurant Review at a glance: (1 to 10 i´s of success)
Overall 9 i´s (feel good factor after paying the bill)
Price 60€ +/-
(price per person based on a three course meal for 2 people with a bottle of house wine)
+34 952 908 808
By: Nicola Vieira Rodrigues
Buy the entire gallery
If you are in not good state and have got no money to go out from that point, you would require to take the personal loans. Just because it would help you for sure. I get student loan every year and feel OK because of this.
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