When he’s not making viral butter videos or heading up London’s hottest restaurant, chef Thomas Straker is searching for downtime, which he most recently found in the bouji corner of Marbella…
I’d heard some horror stories about Marbella back in the day, but undeterred, I dipped into it for a few days this summer – specifically the Marbella Club. I was hoping for a little respite from the kids and the kitchen, and I have to say it delivered. The Marbella Club has had a massive refurb, so it’s now a proper five star swankydank hotel with a beautiful beach club, all decked out like Acapulco in the 50s. We pitched up in our Toyota Rav 4 and there were all these Bentleys, Ferraris and Maseratis! I say that with some irony because I recently bought a Porsche, but clearly there are levels to this game.
Like any of these luxury tourist destinations, you can get a whole mix of cuisines. Marbella itself can be pretty hit and miss though. It’s bouji alright, but that doesn’t guarantee great food. I’ll give it to the Marbella Club though – the food was excellent, and better than what I’d experienced up in the mountains (although I’m told that Cascada is pretty special). They get really good produce pretty much year round due to the micro-climate created by the Sierra Nevada range just over your shoulder. The seafood was outstanding, with delicious lobster, prawns, ceviche (the club has a dedicated raw bar), and of course paella. I love all of that typical Spanish cuisine and discovering the many North African influences it has. It still has that air of Mediterranean simplicity to it, but with some really interesting historical nuances of flavour. How can you say no to a piece of secreto iberico cooked over the charcoals, sliced nice and pink?
Often, I do get disappointed with food when travelling. Unless you really know where you’re going, you can so easily get it really wrong. Besides, everywhere looks the same. All of these restaurants on the street are probably reheating the same frozen croquetas. But the Marbella Club was the real deal.
Getting a table at Straker’s on London’s Golborne Road is like gold dust right now, but enter our competition here and you and a guest will jump the months-long waiting list and enjoy one of the hottest dinner tickets in town.
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