Wednesday 23 May 2018

Maracas in 2018

In February I published the following on Tripadvisor. Here is the the full script with additional images.

Inside looking out.

Once again I am sojourning in Benalmádena, Andalusia, on the Costa del Sol. As is my habit, I am again frequenting my favourite café-bar on the beach. Maracas Bil-Bil has been established here some fifteen years or so and with each year, despite the odd natural disaster bringing business to a halt for a day or two, goes from strength to strength. During the nights of high summer it is quite a hip spot; but during the rest of the year the clientèle is very mixed: locals and tourists from across the globe; from babies right through to the agèd. Together they imbibe, nosh, chatter, play and take the sun. The brave even take a dip in the sea some five to ten metres away - depending on the tide!

Cocktail menu & two sample beverages

Also the cuisine offers something for almost everyone. Vegetarians and carnivores alike. Although the menu does not specifically cater for vegans, if one asks, the staff will do their best to offer something appropriate.

Over the years, I have sampled many of the options offered on the menu. After all, I am here most days that the sun shines. A new dish for me to try this year is the Ensalada Bil-Bil (Bil-Bil Salad - image above). It contains: mixed lettuce leaves including radicchio - these were unblemished, crisp and tasty; a caramelised slice of goat cheese - this was a total surprise and a tasty and wonderfully textured delight as the cheese was firm and the caramelisation was sweet as atop a crème caramel; slices of air-dried duck (jamón de pato) - they melted on the tongue and the flavour was sublime, just heavenly; toasted pine-nuts - which added additional crunch, texture and a nutty flavour; and, finally, what is described in English as an “apple vinaigrette” - for my tastes this was a tad too sweet, but that is normal for the Spanish palette. All the flavours, textures and colours created a culinary delectation for the tongue, the palette and the eye. My one minor criticism would be that the salad was served over chilled, which initially muted some of the flavours. However, one has to understand that in the typical heat of southern Iberia such cooling is totally necessary.

My salad was washed down with a couple of glasses of chilled house rosé at €3 apiece. I needed no other food as I was quite, quite sated. At €9 for the salad, this represents good value for money for the quality and quantity. I strongly recommend the Ensalada Bil-Bil. And, after something like a decade-and-a-half of being an habitué of the establishment, I thoroughly recommend Maracas Bil-Bil to the traveller.

Other dishes I savoured during my extended stay were Teriyaki chicken on a bed of steamed rice and tapa of Ensaladilla Rusa (without beetroot as in UK!).

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