In the last couple of years we have split our summer holiday in 2 parts, trying to avoid the peak season. One week early season, typically in June and another week at the end of the season, preferably end September. Main objective is to avoid the crowds and very high temperatures. And of course, get better deals.
This year June’s destination was Sardinia, about which you can read more here. And for September, after long debates, we chose Andalucia, in the South of Spain. And we couldn’t be any happier with our decision because we absolutely loved it.
There is a lot to be shared with you about our Spanish adventure, and a couple of articles will follow – so be patient with us and keep an eye for what’s to come. We want to share everything with you.
The first stop for us was in Ronda, for 2 reasons: the dramatic landscape and the famous bridge over the deep Gorge which separates the town in two and Bardal, a Michelin star restaurant. Sightseeing and fine dining, the mandatory things on any holiday.
Choosing a Michelin star restaurant for our first meal in Andalucia was a brilliant idea. No better way to start what was going to be an amazing holiday. But also very high standards set up.
Bardal was our first fine dining experience in Spain, the first from many more to follow I can assure you. Located right in the heart of Ronda, close to the Ponte Nuevo, the restaurant is hidden on one of the small pedestrian streets. It’s a secret well kept, an intimate and serene place. The staff is welcoming and the service is exceptional.
Benito Gomez, the Chef at Bardal is around, sometimes helping his team with the service. He was also there to welcome us and thank us at the end.
We’ve been offered 2 options for the menu, 16 or 21 dishes. I’m always tempted to go for the longer menu as I’m curious to try out everything, however I’ve learnt my limits well by now and we opted for 16.
There is no printed menu you see beforehand (first time we’ve experienced this, but later we understood is a common practice for the Michelin star restaurants in Andalucia). And this makes the experience unique since you have no idea what you’re going to have. This keeps you engaged and curious throughout the service, always wondering what’s next.
Each and every dish we had at Bardal was exceptional and surprising, a pleasure for our tasting buds, enchanting to our eyes.
The menu is carefully created, in a way so that you get a taste of everything typical Andalusian. From Iberian pork to the beef tartare served on the bone. From the ‘tunaball’ served on a tuna vertebra to the tortilla served with bottarga. From seafood: oyster, sea anemone and the borriquete fish to baby goat sweetbreads, beef Bourguignon and the pigeon. The pigeon was, without any exaggeration, the best I’ve ever had. And this means a lot, given that I’m not a big fan of this small bird.
The sourdough with olive oil and the goat milk butter was something we will remember for a while. And the unique element was the fact that I didn’t have to share it with my husband, as each of us received their own. It’s all about the small details which makes the whole experience one to remember.
Not to forget the dessert(s) 🙂 Orange, orange blossom and algarrobo cake, followed by smoked yoghurt, corn and chilli millefeuille. I can still feel the smoky taste of the yoghurt and the corn texture of the pastry.
I guess you remember me saying that there is no menu? Well, the good news is that they give you one at the end when you leave. Which is great idea – after all one can’t remember all the 16 dishes 🙂
If you’re a fine dining lover and you’re in Ronda, I could not recommend more having lunch at Bardal.
*this is not an ad, it’s just my very personal opining after dining with them