On Friday and Saturday the weather really
deteriorated – a small twister passed over Malaga airport, storms raged and
streets were flooded; it wasn’t a very good start to the weekend. Sunday however promised to be better, but as I drove
into Malaga the rain was intense!
But I was looking forward to some great
food – I was on my way to meet some friends from BlipFoto.com and share some tapas.
I suggested we go Dani Garcia’s gourmet tapas bar ‘Manzanilla’. Since the
summer his central Malaga ‘La Moraga’ tapas bar has been remodelled and
rebranded as ‘Manzanilla’ after his flagship restaurant concept opening in New
The Malaga bar looks similar to how it was
as ‘La Moraga’, but a little more pared back, simpler – less design clutter. The team seem to have changed
too; and more to the point the food has changed – and not really for the
better I'm afraid to say.
La Moraga always suprised me – other the years there has always been a new tapa creation that really was sensational. But I didn't get that feeling this time, although the great company and conversation was an ample compensation.
The menu has retained a few Garcia classics
such as the cod fritters and the calamari/squid ink fritters; his ‘milhoja de
foie’ etc, but the new items on the menu were not very inspiring and not very
well presented. There are of course some American inspired tapas, as a nod to
his NYC project.
We kicked off with refreshing glass of
sparkling rose cava (that's always a success with me!) and then went onto the house red, ‘Finca Antigua’ – a La Mancha red that
was really delicious.
The porra antequerana was superb and the russian salad with lobster was good too.
But overall I was somewhat 'underwhelmed' by
Manzanilla – It lacked the spark, the surprise, the magic of the early years of La Moraga.
When ‘La Moraga’ first opened in this city
centre location some years ago, the food was exceptionally – it was a showcase
not only for Dani Garcia’s contemporary and innovative interpretation of
Spanish tapas, but also a great example of the creative cuisine available in
Things changed a little for the worse when ‘La
Moraga’ started to become a franchise operation, popping up in departments
stores, airports etc. So Garcia’s team relaunched ‘La Moraga’ here in the city centre with a refreshed menu
and it regained some of it's momentum – but sadly this is lost now with its latest incarnation,
On a positive note, the sun came out in the afternoon!!