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Kaleja Restaurant – Málaga, Spain

September 2023

I visited the 1-Michelin star restaurant Kaleja on my 4-week trip through Andalusia.

Dani Carnero has been a passionate chef for more than 30 years. He certainly learned a thing or two at El Bulli, a 3-star restaurant in Catalonia, where he worked for a year. He received confirmation of his achievement in January 2023, when Michelin awarded him a star. What makes his cooking style special is cooking only on glowing coals, a method he calls “candela” (candle).

I opted for the large, 16-course ‘Gran memoria menu’ with an ‘Armonía del vino’ wine pairing.

At the entrance


The menu

The gourmet journey begins with a white wine from Sicily.

A piece of mackerel in a shell

Anchovy with a lemon strip on toast. The anchovy flavor is wonderfully subtle and the long yellow part with lemon taste was an ideal complement.

Sardine soup

Crispy bread, such as you can hardly find in Spain.

Curd cheese, cucumber and white prawn

The prawn is of the highest quality, a delight!

The next wine was from Cádiz, aged for 6 months in stoneware amphorae in which sherry had previously been stored, so that the heavy sherry notes were noticeable. A special wine that went perfectly with the course!

A soup with white onion and vermouth. The white substance in the middle is made of almonds. A dream!

Maimones is a typical Andalusian soup made with bread, garlic and olive oil, cooked over 24 hours.

After this course I was invited to visit the kitchen and met the chef Dani Carnero (front right).

Cooking is done only on glowing coals, the “candela” method.

Back at the table, I was served this sherry, aged 12 years in American oak barrels.

I was served leek rolls with a chicken wing sauce and labneh cheese on top. This is probably the first and only time I tried a chicken wing sauce. However, it was not very intense, so I hardly recognized the typical taste of chicken wings.

Zucchini flower on a partridge broth, the second vessel contains a razor clam

With the first two fish/seafood courses, I interestingly received this light red wine made from the Grenache grape. On its own, I liked it very much. In combination with the fish and squid, the taste turned into a perfect companion to these courses.

Beans, padron pepper sauce and cod foam

One of my favorite courses: Extremely fresh squid with smoked anchovy strips in a wonderfully sublime sauce.

I received a red wine again for the next fish course. This assemblage comes from Galicia and is aged in French wine barrels.

A perfectly cooked piece of hake in a slightly salty anchovy broth. The broth was so delicious that I spooned out the last drop!

Rice with lettuce gazpachuelo, guinea fowl and oyster

In this red pepper, the Maillard reaction, first described by the French chemist Maillard, occurs at 140 to 165 °C, producing a special browning flavor.

A delicious almond ice cream in a lychee muscatel sauce

This sweet wine from the Málaga area was made from one of the oldest grape varieties, the Moscatel de Alejandría.

A parsley ice cream with figs

A sweet bread

A wonderful gourmet experience came to an end!

Afterwards I received this envelope with the menu and the served wines as a souvenir.

The amount on the invoice represents the excellent performance of the restaurant.