Other than travel, food is our absolute passion in life.
In fact, it is one of the things that enhances travelling for us. Visiting different corners of the world and tasting local dishes is one of the most satisfying parts of travel. From hawkers selling mouthwatering street food on the bustling streets of Bangkok, to Michelin star restaurants in New York; we love it all.
We are self proclaimed foodies; it's not unusual for us to debate over a menu for 15 minutes ensuring we place exactly the right order and, as a rule, we are never allowed to order the same thing. Why only try one dish when you can try two?
For me (Megan), Michelin star restaurants are the Olympics of food. They showcase art, passion, ambition, imagination, technique and the best produce available. Eating in these restaurants create memorable experiences which will last much longer than the food on your plate.
This is why we chose to eat at Jose Carlos Garcia in Malaga, or JCG as it is better known. A 19 course menu created not only a satisfying meal, but an eating experience. They have thought of everything; from the setting of the restaurant with its living wall, the unique and inventive presentation of the food, to bringing the very best of Andalusian cuisine to life.
Jose Carlos Garcia, is without a doubt, the coolest restaurant we've ever eaten in. With one side of the restaurant installed with a "living wall". Live plants completely covered the left hand side wall, the results of which were quite staggering. It felt like you were outside, whilst sitting comfortably inside. On the whole, the restaurant was both intimate and spacious, a contrast which is difficult to achieve!
The only thing I didn't like were the toilets, which to be honest, felt more like port-a-loos and seemed so out of place in a Michelin star restaurant!
The staff were very friendly and informative, and also spoke English, which was a great help as I seriously doubt we would have understood all the dishes in Spanish.
With 19 courses to get through, the menu is both complex and varied. The very first thing you are served is a "mojito ball" - a spherical ball with a liquid centre which explodes in your mouth and acts as a palate cleanser.
Then, like a well oiled machine, the courses start to roll out with both dishes brought to the table in a synchronised fashion.
The first course was Bloody Mary Oysters. They were delicious! I would generally prefer oysters natural with a little bit of lemon but the "Bloody Mary" flavours complimented the molluscs very well.
Next, was the appetisers. We were served 4 plates at once for this part of the menu, along with some freshly baked bread and the aubergine hummus as a spread! David loved the aubergine hummus.
Served on the spoon was their dish "liquid olives" which again were spheres which burst in your mouth with all the flavour of a real olive.
Anchovies served on crispy homemade bread which were blow torched at the table to crisp up the skin! They were really tasty; fresh anchovies are a new found love of mine!
These little things were delicious, a soft terrine layer between two orange barley bread crackers!
Jose Carlos' own version of Polvorones. A typical sweet from Andalusia, however, they have made a savoury version which simply dissolves on your tongue!
The entrees were really good, the highlights being the anchovies and the terrine. The liquid olive wasn't overly enjoyable, I would rather of had a real olive. The homemade bread with aubergine hummus was also really delicious!
Next, we moved onto slightly more substantial dishes, all served one at a time and presented beautifully. Some of them looked so good that you felt bad eating it! Likes works of art on the plate!
This dish was called Liquid Peppers, it consisted of prawns and what tasted like yoghurt spheres, dressed in a red pepper oil.
Next, was a kind of gazpacho of avocado and fennel with eel. I never thought I would like eel, but it was actually really nice and didn't taste at all as I thought it would. The gazpacho was also incredibly fresh and light so it contrasted the salty eel well.
The next dish was Ajoblanco which is a typical soup of this region of Spain. It's made of bread, crushed almonds, garlic, olive oil and water, and at Jose Carlos they serve it with a melon sphere, which, when burst, totally transforms the ajoblanco into something really special.
This dish was one of my favourites and consisted of a prawn (which was cooked to perfection!) with bernaise sauce. The bernaise sauce was quite strong however it worked really well with the prawn.
This course was ramen, not a typically Spanish dish so a little unusual on the menu. It was probably my least favourite dish as I am not a big fan of miso, which is a key ingredient in ramen and I didn't feel this dish fitted in with everything we had eaten so far. We had been eating seafood with lots of fresh flavours, so to then have the ramen with its deep and earthly flavours just didn't work for me.
Served on a beautiful shell shaped plate was the fish of the day - Ajoda. This is a popular fish is southern Spain. The fish was delicious and cooked really well, with both the sauce and crumb complimenting it well.
This next plate was called "Dim Sum" and consisted of scallops wrapped in a crispy rice paper. Another very tasty dish.
This was the first meat dish of the menu which was music to David's ears. By this point I was starting to feel pretty full (we also switched to red wine at this point too) but the pigeon breast cannelloni was delicious - the orange and red sauces were citrus flavoured which really helped balance out the richness of the meat.
Up next was a chilled melon mojito in jelly form to act as a palette cleaner between the savoury and sweet dishes which were coming up next. The mojito jelly was super tangy and refreshing, and the perfect intersection for this point in the menu.
This was the first of our 3 desserts, starting with citrus flavours against a crispy, sweet crumb and ice cream. This was probably my favourite dessert out of them all but it was stiff competition!
The next dessert is called Choco Pear, pear gel, ice cream and flavoured moose.
Our final dessert was a pot of delicious surprises. On a chocolate crumbed base there were macaroons, jelly sweets, crispy wafers and short bread biscuit. We finished off the final course of the meal thoroughly satisfied and with a coffee in hand.
Overall, we really enjoyed our meal at Jose Carlos Garcia. Two tasting menus come in at €140 per person which is expensive; and we have eaten at other Michelin star restaurants for less, where the food was perhaps a little better.
Eating at Jose Carlos Garcia is a full eating experience, from the setting of the restaurant itself to the unique and wonderful dishes; although not every dish was perfect, there were some incredible dishes. You don't need to do the full tasting menu either, you can opt for the a al carte, although you need to request to see this menu as it isn't presented at your table. If, like us, you are a foodie then I would highly recommend trying Jose Carlos Garcia whilst in Malaga as it is a unique dining experience!