Having completed our list of shopping chores at El Corte Inglés, the main store just west of the casco (old city centre), we went up to the top floor to visit the Gourmet Experience. Here one can purchases beverages and foodstuffs from across the globe, from delicacies to locally sourced products. Furthermore, there are several eateries: some are parts of chains; others are independents.
[Image description: my companion with just some of our shopping
with Viva Lola's signage in the background]
Málaga being a port-city and a fishing-port as well, I of course wanted to sample the harvest from the sea. A new sea-food restaurant has recently opened, named Viva Lola. It is part of the Los Mellizos group of restaurants.
We selected our own table and were glad to sit down in extremely comfortable, ice grey coloured, Vitra Eames chairs. I find sitting due to my disabilities to be be extremely uncomfortable if not outright painful. These seats had plenty of lumber support and sufficient give to let me relax long enough to dine.
[Image description: the writer toasting with his wine; behind kitchen & bar staff at work]
Almost immediately a waiter was over and took our drinks orders. We were hot and did not yet know what we intended to eat, so selected rosado/rosé, a large glass of a fine wine cost an unbelievably low €3,10 (for city-centre prices). The waiter then brought over the menus for us to peruse.
[Image description:the menu and a chef's appetiser of a chunk of fresh tuna
atop a bed of chopped tomato on a mini bruschetta]
My dining companion & fellow shopper oohed and ahhed at the offerings. I, of course, ever mindful of my food allergy, kept an open-mind as to what I might be permitted to sample. We were hoping to try the whitebait, but Paul (the maître d'-manager) said when he had been to the fish-market that morning, they had not been good enough. So, instead we chose the special board of the day (left image below), pata de pulpo con mojo picón which would be octopus tentacle with a piquant sauce & lime (right image below).
It was absolutely delicious. The octopus flesh had not been overcooked, so instead of rubbery we bit into a meaty, steak-like texture. The flavour was somewhat like chicken, but far more delicious. This plate was emptied and got the thumbs-up. At €12 perhaps on the pricey side - but well worth it from my perspective for the mouth sensation, and quality. And believe it or not, on a blind tasting several years ago, it transpired that friend's favourite 'fish' is in fact octopus; so a contented chum too.
Whilst Paul tried to find a dish I would like for my mains, he sent over two steamed scallops, each designed for our respective tastes (image above). My chum is not the biggest fish-lover, but it was at this point that even he was making orgasmic noises on the other side of table. His was spicy; mine was sweet & sour. Mmmmmmm…
Richard's tarantelo de atún served with home-made French fries (image above) finally arrived with our next glass of wine. This is the bees-knees of tuna, the cut to dine upon. And my friend wolfed it down.
As you can see from above, there was little left on his plate.
In the meantime, I was treated to the most divine tuna steak, for me perfectly cooked - just seared on the outside and cooked hot enough to heat through the flesh. I was in heaven. Not a scrap was left on my plate.
By now you are probably wondering what we would have for dessert. If you guessed more fish, you would be right! Sea-bass sushi and raw red tuna on mini bruschettas (to the left and the right respectively in the image above).
I can not overstate how exquisite is the seafood at Viva Lola. This is a must-eat-at eatery. I shall be making a bee-line for it when next I am in Málaga.