AMAZING EATING AT ARARA

Following her return from the UK, poor Mrs Flavour was still shivering from exposure to the chilly climate of British autumn. We couldn’t get our hands on any Regeneron, and therefore needed an alternative revitalising tonic. Fortunately, the sun shines favourably on us honorary Malagueños, so we treated ourselves to an overnight stay at the wonderful Higuerón Hotel near Benalmadena to warm her up. As she sunned herself on their poolside Balinese beds, I floated near the edge of the infinity pool, gazing towards the glistening sea, like Farage atop the cliffs of Dover, minus the police visit for breaching lockdown. A few frozen margaritas later, we were contemplating the perfect dinner to complete the perfect day. There’s no shortage of great restaurants at the Higuerón, so choosing just one was no mean feat. We decided to try Arara, Diego Gallegos’s informal Spanish, Brazilian and Peruvian influenced bistro bar. As it turned out, we chose well.

Freshwater sturgeon Russian salad. More Rio de Janeiro than Red Square.

We arrived at Arara for our 9pm reservation (which is pretty much breakfast time by Spanish standards), and we’re shown to a delightful alfresco table with sea views. Well, it was dark, but we agreed the bit where the lights ended was most likely the sea. Our table was backed by an immense, stunningly colourful Japanese inspired graffiti illustration, studded with blue lights for extra impressiveness. The dining room was alive with tropical colour and vegetation, forming an oasis around an open kitchen where culinary wonders were born. Even the beautifully decorated bathrooms were a marvel to behold, but let’s not dwell on those during a food blog. We scanned the QR code at our table and their menu magically beamed its way to our smartphones. Our hands were busier than Giuliani’s as we excitedly browsed the options. Using our best A2 level Spanish skills, we perused their delightful fusion menu of Spanish classics with South American influences. We waited excitedly for our dishes to arrive.

Tataki so pretty it belongs in a gallery.

In keeping with local traditions, we started with a Russian salad, but Gallegos’s was unlike any we’ve tasted, and possibly one of the best. Creamy potato glistened golden-yellow, enveloping the freshest cold water sturgeon, farmed meters away at the hotel’s fishery. Crowned with a ceviche and micro salad garnish, it was a joy to experience. A Russian salad in essence, but these exotic flavours have seldom graced the palette of Putin. It was absolutely delicious! In the mood for more fish, we excitedly received our tuna tataki with avocado cream and sesame. The cool avocado made the melt-in-our-mouths tuna feel incredibly velvety. A stunning combination and another fine dish. Keeping it local, we ate their patatas bravas with shichimi and piquant mayonnaise foam. The potatoes danced with crispy golden warmth, and the dressing shimmered with a little more spice than usual. A very tasty take on a Spanish favourite.

Aged beef meatballs in curry sauce. Tastes even better than it sounds.

We couldn’t resist the lure of aged beef meatballs in a mild curry sauce, as it sounded like two of our favourite cuisines got married. It certainly was a marriage made in heaven. The tender beef melted elegantly, bathed in a tangy curry that was so tasty, we almost ate through the fashionable crockery. We finished our feast with their perfectly cooked grilled salmon loin. This juicy hunk of fish lounged on a bed of hearty black rice, laced with intense aioli and a tangy herb dressing. It was beautifully fresh and flaked pleasingly under the weight of our forks. A masterwork of skilled cooking.

This salmon was fresher than the Prince of Bel Air.

Following a surprise limoncello, we strolled across the moonlit terrace and through art strewn hallways back to our bedroom. Malaga province has an abundance of fantastic restaurants, but we agreed Arara was certainly among the best we’ve enjoyed recently. Our fantastic meal was indeed the perfect end to our perfect day. If this is what follows a trip back to Britain, tell Boris our bags are packed.

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