Perfect in every way: Caperuza Bistro, Marbella
It’s very rare that you will ever get to enjoy a restaurant meal when every single dish is completely perfect. Even when I’ve had the most delicious high end tasting menus, there’s always been at least one dish which hasn’t quite hit the mark. But in the completely unassuming new little restaurant, Caperuza Bistro, which by complete coincidence is located a mere 100 metres from my home in Marbella, I recently had a dinner which was just that: perfect in every way.
The restaurant is small (just one small room with an open plan kitchen facing onto the narrow old town Calle Aduar) and perfectly formed. With a small team of staff, you get a friendly smile and attentive home-spun service right from the first moment of entering, while cosy candlelight makes the otherwise contemporary interior feel authentic and comfortable. The menu is said to work like tapas, although in reality, it’s more like a tasting menu than tapas, because the restaurant, considerate of the need to savour the complex flavours and stunning presentation of each dish, serve dishes one by one, so that every element can be enjoyed and you never feel overwhelmed (as is so often the problem with the traditional tapas format).
On the recommendation of the amiable waitress, we went for 6 dishes each shared between the three of us. The dishes were served consecutively, with perfect timing and small but adequate pauses between each. We started with a salad of super fresh raw prawns in a smokey foam with sensationally seasoned leaves dressed in orange and what I think was soy. The balance was so delicately and expertly executed that every taste bud in my mouth was tantilised. I can still remember every satisfying flavour now. It was a sensation that was to continue.
Our second dish was a chicken liver pate, beautifully presented in little glass jars with wafer thin bread. While the pate was rich and creamy, it was not overdone. The portion was a perfect size and the elegant crunch of the bread a perfect accompaniment.
Onto a dish of salmon tartar, spilling out of little crunchy cornets draped over an unforgettable ginger and carrot purée. Balance, balance, balance – this place had it all, with this dish another prime example which lasted but seconds before we finished it up – all washed down with the delicious bottle of Rueda chosen for us by the dedicated staff.
Could it get any better? Why yes, for up next was a dish of scallops hiding within another ample helping of seductively seasoned rocket salad whose peppery bitterness contrasted perfectly with an exquisite lemon and potato puree which brought the lemon groves of Sorrento alive in my mouth. Such freshness of flavour was countered only by the sweet and delicious caramelisation of the scallops. My only complaint – that this dish did not go on forever.
Thankfully, what I now consider to be the best dish of all was still to come. A dish of sweet sticky vermicelli noodles, with juicy big prawns, toasted almonds and garlic. I can’t tell you how delicious this dish was, nor properly communicate just how well the crunch of the almonds contrasted with the silky noodles, and how the delicate shellfish stock had caramelised into a golden sweet pasta sauce. Oh sensational.
Finally we dug into an equally successful dish of asian inspired duck served with a little creamy peanut puree. Need I say more about the excellence of this cuisine? (I forgot to take a photo of that one!)
Well yes actually, because dessert was to follow. And just when we thought the mains could never be beaten, along came a cheesecake mousse – I mean for god’s sake, can life get any better than this? Puffy little clouds of the most satisfyingly delicious mousse served with a little buttery biscuit on the side. And then there was the super fresh pineapple sorbet with a creamy smooth mango soup. I was in heaven.
My only hope now is that this little restaurant, which is relatively understated and slightly off the tourist track, remains open to serve this sensational cuisine for a long time to come. The quality of the food was out of this world, and simply could not have been anticipated from the outside of the restaurant, nor from the menu whose prices were so reasonable that one wonders how the restaurant can make any profit at all. But take advantage of those while you can, because if the chef continues cooking this well, they’re bound to rise fairly swiftly in turn.
Caperuza Bistro is at 22 Calle Aduar in the Old Town (Casco Antiguo) of Marbella, Spain. Tel: (+34 951 395 593)