Costa Cuisine- A love affair with wine


This month SOCIETY MARBELLA gained exclusive access to one of the most highly anticipated new venues of recent times – D-wine.

Opening this month, D-wine will play host to one of the most extensive collections of wine in the whole of Spain with over 70,000 bottles and 3,000 different labels all scored with 90 plus points from world renowned wine expert Robert Parker and Spain’s José Peñin and from every region of the country. Francisco, one of the D-wine sommeliers, met with our Features Editor to give an insight into what this innovative and exciting new venture is all about.

It would be difficult for even the most dedicated beer drinker to remain unmoved by wine when walking through the doors of D-wine and being met with the enthusiasm and passion of its staff. “We want to be different” Francisco tells us, “We want to take time with each individual customer to show them all that is great about Spanish wine; when to drink a certain wine and with which accompaniment. We want to spread our passion for wine.”

Displaying his extensive experience of the world of fine wine, Francisco starts our tour in the most exclusive section of the venue. The walls are ined with the very best wine cellars, meticulously set at optimum humidity and temperature and storing the most sought after and exquisite labels in Spain, and the world. These include the rarest bottles and vertical collections of renowned Pingus, Vina Tondonia,Clos Erasmus, L’Ermita and Vega Sicilia as well as lesser-known wines, which will take even the most experienced wine drinkers by surprise. There is a large central tasting bench, which will give centre stage to Spanish winemakers delivering presentations, wine experts giving technical wine classes, wine tasting sessions and all manner of wine related activities. A terrace lounge provides a place for guests to relax and enjoy a Cognac, fine Rum and of course special wines while reading their way through D-wine’s collection of Spanish wine and gastronomic gems. Last but by no means least, a wine dispenser system. This pioneering piece of equipment dispenses high-end wines by the glass at the swipe of a card. The dispenser system is also available at a number of areas throughout the D-wine venue to allow up to a maximum of 32 wines to be available to taste by the glass.

“This is totally unique”, enthuses Francisco, “Nowhere in the Spain can you try as many special wines by the glass”

We leave the big name wine labels behind and head over to the next section of the premises, which boasts over a thousand different wines that are specifically chosen because they provide excellent value for money. These bottles are more averagely priced yet still possess excellent flavours and, of course, those special Parker and Peñin Point’s which signify the superb quality of the label. “The essence in this area is high quality and good prices,” Francisco tells me. 

Onto the third area of D-wine, which showcases the country’s best vintages and is enclosed within glass walls in order to monitor humidity and temperature levels. The labels here are organized in verticals, which is very unusual in Spain. A customer could purchase a collection of bottles of any winery from past years till the actual one to contrast and compare the different flavours through time. There are also magnums, double magnums and bottles of up to 18 litres available to purchase, perfect for a dinner party of 20 guests or more.

As we marvel at the scope of this venture, Francisco reveals still more services. “We can also help individuals who want to create their own wine cellar at home,” Francisco suggests. “So if somebody comes into the store and says I want a cellar of around 300 bottles all priced around the €30 mark, we can advise them on what labels to buy and when to drink specific bottles in the collection at their absolute best.” It seems the sky really is the limit at D-wine.

We end our tour in the restaurant and terrace area, which comfortably seats 100 people (140 could be accommodated but the D-wine team want guests to feel relaxed and special). The restaurant will offer Spanish and Japanese cuisine by head chef Kengo Tomita and his team, using the very best local ingredients all of which will of course be paired with a recommended wine. The terrace is suitable for both summer and winter with its state-ofthe- art pergola, heating for winter months and vapour cooling system for the warmest months . It is the ideal place to hook up with a group of good friends and the most delectable of wines, chosen with the unobtrusive help of one of the sommeliers.

Overwhelmed by the many facets of this new establishment, we thank Francisco who will undoubtedly make it his mission to welcome and educate everyone who crosses the D-wine threshold, from the most amateur of wine drinkers to the greatest expert.

“We are happy to learn together,” he says as he walks us to the door, “This place is dynamic, and we would like to invite everyone to be a part of it”.

Calle Norte, 2, 29670, Marbella
(Take exit for Cortijo Blanco,
immediately after the San Pedro
tunnel). Tel. 952 814 446
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Costa Cuisine- Heard it through the Grapevine


D-Wine is an ‘oenogastronomic’ space meaning that guests are invited to participate in tasting both fine food and fine wine when they visit the restaurant.

The concept of D-wine revolves around allowing visitors to enjoy drinking wines that are at their optimum condition. The D-Wine team is aware that there is a tendency amongst restaurants to serve bottles of wine that are often premature, whereas the D-wine sommeliers believe it is worth waiting to serve certain labels so they can be enjoyed at their perfect condition. D-wine boasts a selection of over 3000 different labels, which suit all palettes and price budgets. The wine list has been selected by the expert D-wine sommeliers and recommended in the respective guides of José Peñin and Robert Parker. Both men continually seek to find new tastes and revive the old as they try thousands of different wine labels around Spain each year.

One of the innovative features at D-Wine that aids the wine tasting experience is their exclusive ‘wine by the glass’ dispenser system. You can choose to try up to 32 wines selected by their expert sommeliers to find the perfect bottle to take home and enjoy. This is the first of its kind in Spain and reflects D-wine’s pioneering spirit. Specialist fridges have also been installed into the building to maintain specific temperature levels for the many different bottles.

We eagerly await the opening of the venue in February 2014!

Calle Norte, 2, 29670, Marbella
(Take exit for Cortijo Blanco,
immediately after the San Pedro
tunnel). Tel. 952 814 446
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SOCIETY MARBELLA speaks to D-Wine Chef Kengo Tomita.

When D-Wine opens in February, the venue will be offering small ‘tapas-style’ dishes that hint towards Mediterranean and Japanese cuisine. Kengo Tomita will be leading the Japanese half of the kitchen team at D-Wine. He tells us, “my aim is to create dishes that are healthy, full of colour and tasty.”

Kengo has extensive experience in the culinary world. ‘I have worked at various prominent five star hotel restaurants including Hotel Finca Cortesin, Villa Padierna and the Alva Park Hotel in Gerona,’ he informs us. Kengo has also gained experience outside of Spain; he worked as a Sous Chef at Spanish restaurant ‘Al Hambra’, part of the ‘Al Qasr’ Hotel in the Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. As well as this, the chef led a culinary team in Russia for the opening of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Moscow, Russia in 2007.

Kengo is committed to the invention of new culinary delights; he says, “day by day I want to continue to build upon my training and expertise, creating increasingly delicious dishes.”

One of Kengo’s most renowned dishes has to be his soaked pears with mascarpone sorbet, which was included in the 2004 Michelin Guide whilst he was working at Fonda Sala restaurant in Olost, near Barcelona. Furthermore, all ingredients will be locally sourced from D-wine partner Cristobal Ordonez who owns a 100% organic farm in Coin and provides the freshest products to create the most flavoursome dishes. An authentic charcoal grill will be an additional feature on the site to further add to the incomparable cuisine available at D-wine.

Alongside working within such prestigious hotel groups, Kengo has been selected to work with some of the world’s best chefs. For example, he was invited to be involved in the organization and execution of one particularly exclusive wedding banquet by Michelin star chef Elena Arzak.

‘Kengo and his team are certainly committed to deliver exquisite creations to perfectly compliment your wine tasting experience at the venue from February onwards.’

Costa Cuisine- Bank on us


Nueva Andalucía has long been renowned as the home of some of the area’s finest restaurants and now, with the opening of El Banco, it looks as though this very desirable part of Marbella will attract even more visitors.

Tucked away in a corner of Aloha Pueblo, El Banco has taken its name from the fact that it really was formerly a branch of Banco BBVA, but don’t worry – there is nothing boring or corporate about the interior now. El Banco’s owners, husband and wife team Gustavo Kiguelmam and Laura de Luca, have an excellent eye for detail and have transformed this space into a fresh, funky and welcoming restaurant, which is fast gaining an excellent reputation for the quality of its fusion food.

With one successful restaurant already under their belts in the shape of Marbella’s buzzing beachfront La Red, Gustavo and Laura have turned their attention to offering diners an experience that takes in the best of Argentinean, Peruvian and Spanish dishes. Head Chef Giacomo Muzio hails from Peru and his skill at bringing together elements of South American and Spanish cuisine has ensured that, only weeks after its opening, the word is out that El Banco is the latest place to visit for great food.

It is difficult not to keep mentioning this restaurant’s origins (the name inevitably brought us back to it, time and again) but the warmth of the welcome from the waiting staff soon banished thoughts of balance sheets and overworked cashiers. From paying-in slips to the ideal place to chill-out – that is quite some journey, but thanks to the joint skills of Gustavo, Laura and Giacomo, it has been admirably achieved.

The menu offers something for everyone, including some imaginative vegetarian dishes, with the emphasis very much on fresh, light dishes that are ideal for the local climate.

The starters range from classic favourites (Gazpacho, Gambas al Pil Pil and Melon with Serrano Ham) to combinations it seems wicked not to try: the Aubergine Parmiggiana with Mozzarella, Basil, Tomato Sauce and Parmesan, in particular, sounded delicious.

However, in the end we had to make a decision and opted for the fabulous Tuna Tartare Japanese Style with Red Onion, Cucumber, Sesame Seeds and Soy Sauce and the Mixed Ceviche of Sea Bream and Seafood, Limes, Chillies and Coriander served with Corn and Sweet Potatoes. This was where the care that the El Banco team had taken in sourcing their ingredients really came to the fore; the flavours were incredibly intense, these clever combinations colliding blissfully and bursting on the tongue.

The day was warm and the salad selection was so good we had to sample at least one item from the long list. In the end we decided to try the Tropical Salad with Flambéed Prawns in Brandy with Mango, Avocado, Pineapple, Coriander, Red Onions and Cocktail Sauce. Believe me, this was every bit as delicious as it sounds, the heat of the prawns perfectly offset by the glorious freshness of the salad ingredients.

So far, so fishy; we just had to select something from the meat section, so eventually we agreed to share the Pork Roll Fillet filled with Spinach and Goat’s Cheese in a Red Wine Cream Sauce. Visitors to Spain frequently express their surprise at the imaginative things that local chefs do with pork, a skill that obviously extends to South America, since Giacomo and his team really managed to hit the spot with this fabulously tasty creation. The wine in the sauce was the perfect accompaniment to the almost melting quality of the pork with its perfect filling.

Dessert was going to be a challenge, but a little determination goes a long way and, with a Chocolate Brownie with Ice Cream on the menu all resistance crumbled. This was even before we had tried the Tiramisú, which, as the late Michael Winner would have said, was historic.

We left feeling as though we had found a real gem of a restaurant, yet another jewel in the crown of Nueva Andalucía.

When it comes to a relaxed atmosphere and fab food, you can most definitely bank on El Banco.

El Banco Bar & Restaurat by La Red Urb. Aloha Pueblo, Local 35 Nueva Andalucía (formerly BBVA Bank)

T. 952 907 570

Costa Cuisine- Picture Perfect Indian Cuisine


Picture the scene: you are out and about with your favourite gang of girls and it’s a winter evening, dark and cold. Of course, you are all starving.

What should your first move be?

We have been huge fans of Bollywood since it opened, so it took us less than a minute to move the action to Urbanisation Fuente Aloha, which is where this appealing Indian restaurant is located.

Bollywood is always buzzing and is open for dinner from 6:00pm to midnight, which means that it has quickly gained a reputation as one of the most popular Asian restaurants in Marbella.

The welcome that our party of four received was typically warm. We requested a table as far away from the entrance as we could and were rewarded by some gorgeous aromas from the kitchen.

When we go out in a group our problem is always that we spend ages deciding on which dish to order, only to find that we later wish that we had chosen something that another member of the group was eating. This is yet another reason why we often choose to dine at Bollywood, since it makes more sense to order a range of dishes from every point on the Scoville scale so that normally cautious diners can experiment with something spicier and vindaloo fans can also enjoy the subtle flavours of a korma.

Our usual routine is to order drinks first and by the time we are about halfway through the second glass of wine we have come to some agreement on our order.

For our selection we decided that the Assorted Platter (consisting of Seekh Kebab, Chicken Tikka, Vegetable Pakora, Meat and Vegetable Samosas and Onion Bhaji) would give us all a chance to sample some of the old favourites for which the Bollywood chefs are famous. We also opted for the Spiced Deep Fried Potatoes and Boneless Chicken Pieces in Chickpea Batter, which only goes to prove how accurate the saying is about eyes being larger than stomachs; when the plates arrived on the table we all started to laugh as the size of the challenge began to sink in.

Of course, in our usual fashion we managed to make this demanding task seem easy, the combination of the spicy flavours and crunchy textures combining to set up a series of wonderful taste explosions.

For our main courses we had ordered the Lamb Vindaloo (whenever we visit we vow to try the Phal, but wimp out every time), King Prawn Curry, Chicken Tandoori and Goan Curry. The latter was listed as one of the Bollywood Specials and was highly recommended by our waiter. It turned out to be a deliciously light curry from that very popular part of India, featuring fish and prawns in an aromatic, coconut flavoured sauce.

To accompany this we ordered Pulao Rice, Naan Bread and a couple of Chapatis, which meant that we had to do quite a bit of lateral thinking to accommodate our four large plates and all the dishes that were arriving. However, with a little imagination we eventually managed it. This is our favourite way of dining when we go as a group to Bollywood – everyone just digs in and shares. Occasionally our manners are less than perfect, but everyone has a great time and has the chance to try all the dishes.

We were very happy with our choices on this occasion, the spicier dishes contrasting with the Goan Curry, which we all agreed was the star of the evening. This is yet another of Bollywood’s great features; whether you consider yourself a bit of an expert on Asian food or have never seen the inside of an Indian restaurant before, the staff members are all very friendly and knowledgeable and are more than happy to share their expertise with you.

There was very little room left for dessert, but the delicious Mango Kulfis that we ordered certainly cooled our palates.

In our usual fashion, we then ordered four coffees to finish the evening. You are never rushed or made to feel unwanted at this family friendly Indian restaurant and we stayed for a few hours before moving on to our next destination.

Bollywood’s popularity is due to a combination of factors including a great location, extensive menu, friendly service and reliability. Every time we visit we have a brilliant evening and that is more than enough to make us repeat visitors.

T. 952 906 748
Avenida Del prado. Local 4, Edificio
Picaso, Aloha, 29660 Nueva Andalucia

Yanx a million


Like Disneyworld, Café Yanx can always be relied upon to provide a thoroughly enjoyable family experience. Conveniently located in Nueva Andalucía’s bustling Centro Plaza, the Yanx team has worked hard to build a loyal clientele since it first opened its doors in 1997. Originally designed by Americans, which explains the authenticity of the décor, Yanx is now owned and managed by David Fisher, whose 25 years of experience in the catering and hospitality business explains why this phenomenally popular restaurant is still packing in the punters.

The Fishers owned restaurants, pubs and nightclubs all over the UK, so David was able to learn the business from an early age. Later he attended catering college and became head chef at three American style restaurants in Norwich, so when it comes to providing an experience that customers are happy to enjoy again and again, few restaurateurs are better qualified.

Its conveniently close proximity to Puerto Banús’s rastro means that it is full to bursting on Saturday mornings but, unlike many similar establishments, Yanx seems to be buzzing around the clock on every day of the week.

Much of its success can surely be attributed to the warm welcome extended to customers, both returning and new, by the superbly well trained staff. Of course, anyone who has ever visited America will be accustomed to the friendliness of the waiters and the promptness of the service and this is beautifully recreated by the Yanx team. Whether you are just popping in with a few friends for coffee or arriving with your extended family for a slap-up, threecourse feast, the five-star treatment is exactly the same.

Another of Yanx’s particular strengths is its consistency and reliability, a factor which has established it as one of Marbella’s most popular family restaurants. Of course, this should be a basic tenet of every café and restaurant, but wavering quality is a factor that has toppled many an otherwise excellent eatery. Yanx, however, continues to pull in the crowds; David Fisher has always been quick to name his staff as his secret weapon and he is quite correct. A determination to recreate the happy, relaxed air of an American diner and turning out reliably tasty dishes using the freshest produce available has paid dividends.

Putting the Yanx menu through its paces does require a certain amount of self-sacrifice, since the portions are so generous that we decided to fast beforehand. The starters, in particular, are wonderfully varied, so we decided to order several dishes and share them among our party of four. We are all big fans of Mexican food, so could not resist the Nachos, which were served with Chilli Beef, Jalapeños, Cheese and Guacamole and we teamed that up with a bowl of Chilli Con Carne with Corn Chips, Grated Cheese and Pico de Gallo. Yanx’s chilli beef is an experience that everyone should have at least once a month – first the beautifully authentic flavours and then the sudden burst of heat. Continuing the Tex-Mex theme, we opted for a bowl of Guacamole with Tortilla Chips and the delicious Letterman Skins, crispy Potato Skins grilled with Bacon and Cheese and served with Sour Cream.

We have visited Yanx so many times that we were familiar with their fabulous range of burgers, so we decided to choose something different. The Ho Chi Minh Rice promised to provide a touch of lightness after our substantial starters, consisting of Vietnamese Fried Rice, Chilli, Chicken, Shrimp and Soy Veg and served with an Egg on top. The Mountain Goat Salad also proved an excellent choice, the healthy Mixed Leaves, Diced Tomatoes and Pine Nuts salad was topped with a mouthwatering, melting Goat’s Cheese Crouton, its creamy texture contrasting with the crunch of the salad. We also enjoyed the San Francisco Noodles, which were prepared with Cucumber, Spring Onions, Sesame Seeds, Tamari Sauce and topped with delicious Crispy Fried Leeks. Although you can choose this dish with Chicken or Shrimps we decided to enjoy it as a vegetarian option and we were not disappointed with the wonderful textures and flavours, which were enhanced by the tasty tamari sauce. Our final choice was the fresh Pan Seared Salmon which had been covered in a gorgeous Honey and Soy Glaze and was served with a fabulous Pineapple Salsa, Pilau Rice and some crunchy Vegetables.

Like the starters, we elected to place these dishes in the centre of the table so that we could all sample each of them. What impressed us was what has also created Yanx’s enviable roster of return customers, namely the freshness of the ingredients and the attention paid to presentation; the food really does look as good as it tastes.

Ordering dessert could be considered foolhardy, but we are nothing if not intrepid. Our sweet selection consisted of a Best Little Brownie in the West with Vanilla Ice Cream and a superb Hot Chocolate and Caramel Sauce and the Baked Cheesecake with a Fresh Raspberry Coulis. Just to keep up the calorie count we combined that with the Alabama Apple Crisp and the Frozen Peanut Butter-Chocolate Pie, which also featured a Chocolate Glaze and a Hot Caramel Topping. We felt guilty after consuming all that deliciousness – but not so guilty that we passed up the Irish Coffees afterwards.

After pulling in the crowds for 26 years, most restaurants find that their popularity waxes and wanes, but Yanx has somehow found the elixir of perpetual success.

Café Yanx
Centro Comercial Plaza, 7
Tel. 952 818 861

Costa Cuisine- Le Papillon - Serene Setting for Sumptuous Beachside Restaurant



For location and ambience, it’s hard to beat Le Papillon Restaurante & Beach Club. Situated on the beautiful beachfront at Marbesa, it is known as one of the best places on the Coast to watch the sunset, which is reason enough to check it out.

The views from Le Papillon are sublime. Boasting a prime position, which offers a sweeping windswept vista of the sunset merging into the Mediterranean sea, this classy restaurant has the lot. Offering an aura of seclusion, with cosy interiors and a relatively hidden location, it’s easy to see why Le Papillion is a hit with tourists and locals alike. Recently refurbished with comfortable, chic furniture it is the perfect setting for lunch or dinner. The heated glass terrace also makes for a great winter dining venue; this really is a place for all seasons and an experience not to be missed.

The largely European, but Spanish tinged menu adds to the overall experience. Most dishes are served with a twist of creativity: delicious examples include the Warm Salad of Squid and Chorizo with a zingy Lime Dressing and the Sole with Prawns, Lemon and Basil Butter.

Staff members are friendly and display an excellent knowledge of the menu, so their recommendations are spoton. The flexible table layout caters as well for couples as groups and intimate conversation is still possible even when the place is bubbling over. On the other hand, even when only half full, Le Papillon still manages to create a buzzing atmosphere, aided by the warm welcome it extends to guests who only want a cocktail or two. The new, dedicated bar area also offers its own resident gin specialist and the cocktail selection, as you might imagine, is marvellous: Mojito, Cosmopolitan, Mai Tai and – of course - sangría. Despite its upmarket ambience it is a beach bar after all and, even at a deluxe chiringuito such as this, some classics must be maintained.

One of the few places to have an interesting children’s menu, the 9.95 euro option includes a main course and dessert with choices such as Homemade Hamburgers or Spaghetti Napolitana.

If you fancy making a day of it, Le Papillon also offers luxurious chill-out beds for an amazing 25 euros per day. Should you wish to relax in style, you can take advantage of a chill-out bed and a bottle of champagne (Moët & Chandon, of course) for an incredible 75 euros; the perfect romantic day out. We arrived in time to watch the sunset which, combined with our specially created gin concoctions, kick-started our evening. The meal began with a delicately perfumed Sweet Potato and Coconut Soup with Coriander, followed by lightly battered Tempura of Prawns, offset beautifully by a pungent aioli dip. For mains we feasted on the signature dish of Roasted Rack of Lamb with Rosemary and Garlic, while the Lime and Chilli Monkfish Tail with Pea Guacamole was a revelation in intense flavour matching. Don’t wait for a cannon load of chilli but relish the restrained use of this spice.

Make sure to leave room for dessert, because you really can’t leave without having tried the delicious puddings, which will surely give your meal the sweetest ending. We opted for the oh so naughty Eton Mess and Le Papillon brought the flavours of an English summer to our table with this clever twist on a traditional favourite. The sumptuous, indulgent, sticky mess of crunchy meringue, tart strawberries oozing their fragrant summery juices and rich cream was quintessentially a decadent treat.

The romanticism of the rippling waves, twinkling twilight and outstanding cuisine combine to make this beachside favourite a seamless dining experience.

Le Papillon Restaurant and Beach Club Urb. Marbesa, Ctra. de Cádiz Km. 193, 29604 Marbella

T. 952 834 113

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