Once again this year we have been invited to feel, live and taste the soul of the Marina Beach Club! We really look forward to that! They promised us a burst of laughter, the best views of Las Arenas beach and great moments of cooking with friends!
Their brilliant plan…. a “showcooking” by Juan Carlos Galbis, the greatest Rice Master in the city of Valencia, with us as his cook´s assistants making a Valencian paella for “our lunch”… Well, not a bad idea given that we are not chefs, neither experts in this matter but… we wanted to learn and we were hungry for his knowledge!
Meanwhile, to whet our appetite, we were invited to taste the “amuse bouches” of their executive chef Sebastien Gros.
Last, but not least, we got to eat our masterpiece.
Marina Restaurant, a circular restaurant with spacious Windows overlooking Las Arenas Playa, is a charming space for those who love to eat outdoors. Its terrace extends to the sea, with spectacular views of the beach.
The proximity to the sea and the marine district of Cabanyal mark the Mediterranean essence of their gastronomic offer, which also includes a good selection of Valencian wines among other references from the rest of the national and international winemaking panorama. We were offered “Buenos días” a DO Rueda Verdejo, fruity, fresh, very well-balanced and with a good acidity. Antonio Calero, their manager, explained to us they have bought the whole production for the next 10 years. So, if you want to taste it, you have to go to Marina Restaurant, it’s well worth it!
The restaurant menu combines modern and avant-garde cuisine with local cuisine and traditional Valencian dishes: vegetables from the garden, dry and sweet rice, fish from the local fish markets…
Juan Carlos Galbis welcomed us with everything ready! A big paella saucepan was placed in the middle of the salon with all the ingredients on the table for cooking “our” paella. He shared with us some really useful tricks, such as how to smoke the rosemary, adding to the rice the smell and taste of a paella made over wood although it was really gas. Interesting! We will do it next time at home….. we´ll see what happens…. fingers crossed!!
Galbis used Dacsa Albufera, a hybrid cross between Senia and Bomba varieties. Certified by the Designation of Origin Rice from Valencia which guarantees its origin and quality, Marina Beach and Dacsa have sign an exclusivity agreement to use Dacsa rices for all their dishes.
Juan Carlos also tought us how to use the “pimentón” (sweet paprika) properly to express all its properties…. But that master class we will share with you another time…
Meanwhile Sebastien Gros prepared for us some of their “yummy” appetizers, we started with Iberian ham and Pan de Cristal” (a type of bread with a crispy crust and soft, honeycombed interior), followed by Mediterranean sea bass ceviche with passion fruit seasoning and Valencian orange “slush”.
Tuna fish tartare with wakame seaweed and soya and mustard mayonnaise came next to delight our palates. After that delightful dish we went to his steak tartar with mustard ice-cream, I don’t have words to explain the sensation of that first taste!!! Wonderful!
Once “our” paella was ready we sat at our tables and a new wine came “Frore de Carme” sólo albariño, Doble lias, matched with Mar y Montaña by Marina Beach (sweetbreads and red prawns).
Finally, the paella was served filling the atmosphere with the same thought… Did we do it well? Were we a good students?
Well, actually, it was Juan Carlos Galbis who cooked it, but for us it was something special to be able to participate in the event.
I have to say that we ate everything! No food was leftover. The paella was accompanied by “Finca Terrerazo” 2015, a great red wine “Vino de Pago” made by Bodegas Mustiguillo, headed up by Toni Sarrión . A fine wine and a special one too, 100% Bobal. Intensity, density, maturity, warmth, freshness and finesse are the first and foremost features outlining the profile of this quality wine. Its colour in the glass is absolutely lovely, a vivacious shade of dark black cherry with thick legs slowly making their way downwards. Finca Terrerazo is also smooth and creamy on the palate, fresh and pleasant, with mineral touches, mature and fruit-driven. A fine wine which indeed we thoroughly enjoyed, matched perfectly with the Marina Restaurant menu, and with those amazing views of the Playa Malvarrosa you are in heaven!
And…… the best way to finish a great meal, their desserts! Thanks to Sebastien and Juan Carlos for this unforgettable masterclass!