ORGANIC and piecemeal, Blossom only started to flourish three years into its genesis.
Starting as a cafe and breakfast joint next to Malaga cathedral, its owner Emiliano Schobert slowly started to serve lunch, initially cold, and finally suppers two years later.
The Argentinian chef had landed in Malaga with his wife Lucia and three children in 2019 and had been planning a long holiday before working part-time between Spain and Bariloche… but then, of course, came the pandemic.
And praise the lord, for suddenly stuck in Andalucia and ‘Emi’ was forced to change his plans and slowly began to set up one of the most exciting new additions to Andalucia’s burgeoning food scene in years.
He certainly had pedigree. Cordon Bleu trained; he had set up his own cookery school in Patagonia and twice represented his country at the prestigious Bocuse d’Or competition, in France, now in its 20th year.
After stints at restaurants in Denmark and France, he was ripe to transfer his skills to setting up a kitchen in Spain. And he’s done so well that the celebrated Michelin guide handed him the prestigious Bib Gourmand ‘value-for-money’ award in November.
So perhaps the most surprising thing is that Blossom is apparently anything but cheap.
With a set menu at €115 per head, not including wine, it was no surprise to find the terrace empty, while all its near neighbours were bustling on a busy Thursday in the run up to Christmas.
Group after group, couple after couple stopped, looked at the menu, and swiftly moved on. But more’s the pity, for the 13-course set menu had a wealth and depth of ingredients as impressive as it was long.
With plenty of fish and meat (including Red Snapper, a beef tartare, duck and even venison), I calculated that the ingredients alone would come to half the cost.
Even better, my friendly waiter David, a Spaniard who recently ‘reluctantly’ swapped London for Malaga, insisted the menu was as KM-0 as humanly possible. He also gave me some excellent wine tips, including a remarkable white Rioja, Añades, which had a touch of mandarin after being aged for six years in cask.
The first four dishes come out together as a really beautiful tableaux … true artworks, delicate and thoughtful, they’d be well worthy of a place in the Picasso museum up the road.
In particular, the crunchy carrot cream and peanut praline tartlet was a great palate opener, while a mini Jerusalem artichoke soup with a Capuchina leaf to follow was ever so slightly spicy with a peppery kick.
A strip of smoked salmon carefully rolled on top of a slice of Malaga cucumber was both subtle and refreshing, while a ceviche of ‘silver snapper’ with pepper sauce, tiger leche milk, sweet potato and avocado was remarkably flavoursome, a sweet and sour masterpiece, that brought back my faith in a dish that is 75% of the time disappointing in Europe.
Then there was a scallop with a sliver of foie, apple and almonds, while the fish of the day was sea bream, served with delicious fresh peas and roasted cauliflower.
The pig’s jowl and salmon roe was as pretty as a picture and tasted as good as it looked – properly lip-smacking, while Morel mushroom stuffed with duck mouse, and a chickpea blini with creamy Parmesan … hallelujah. Happy days. One bite of heaven.
Then it was two – yes TWO – courses of duck, one a breast, lightly braised, with celeriac mash and an amazing confit of duck in onion.
It was the same with the venison with effectively two dishes, a slice of breast with a chocolate mole from Mexico in a mushroom veloute and pickled beetroot (the sweetness of the beetroot was surprising) as well as a Portobello mushroom with a slice of venison on top.
OK, it sounds like too much food, but the dishes are not big, indeed they are just about right. After all, this is a ‘tasting menu’.
It also meant I still had space for a trio of puddings, with caramelised apples in chamomile ‘English custard’ particularly splendid, while the white chocolate ‘bavarois’ with mascarpone, Tonka beans and crumble was amazing too.
Finally, a chocolate stuffed raspberry didn’t ruin the night, even coming with a glass of PX brandy on the house, which ushered me off to appropriately sweet dreams.
Nouvelle cuisine. Remember that? Well it’s back and alive and well at Blossom, where the flowers are out in full bloom.
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