The Essence of Japan

Jul 18, 2013 No Comments by

Hotel in-house restaurants can often disappoint, where you are invariably paying for the location and the caché rather tan the food itself. This is not the case at Namazake in the Puente Romano hotel. Probably the best Japanese food I have ever tasted in Spain, this restaurant holds its own in terms of  quality, service and atmosphere.

Head chef, and creator of Namazake concept, Elquin Rangel is the real deal. His knowledge   and expertise in all things sushi are unsurpassed in Marbella. Second Chef Renée Dizon, originally from Manila, has been in the profession for over 30 years and has achieved the legendary ‘sensei’ status, an honour only awarded to the highest-level masters of Japanese cuisine. He tells me that all his recipes are in his head and he never reads a recipe book. The three most important things for being a world-class sushi chef? Your knives, your personality and your dedication. Renée says that even as he lies in his bed, he is thinking of how to improve his recipes.

Such perfectionism became clearly evident when sampling the food. The precision of this kind of cooking is its main appeal, and becomes  tangible when sampling the fresh flavours and stunning fish. We started with a richer than normal miso soup, the staple entree for any  successful Japanese meal. Miso can be prepared in many different forms, and sometimes is hit or miss in terms of saltiness and flavor. This version was impressive; richly flavoured with tofu & seaweed with its briny overtones being brought to touch with some softer and more neutral leek and soya.

The next dish was gratinated King crab leg with miso & coriander. This  was remarkable, the kind of dish that makes you stop and slow down so you can savour every mouthful. The best way to describe it would be as a perfect balance – a wonderful combination of crunchy and rich crab meat, beautifully fresh and tangy coriander and a small injection of miso flavour; stunning.

We then sampled a fillet of butterfish in saiko miso sauce, presented in a beautifully wrapped parcel of shiso leaves – this was also delicious; melt in the mouth tenderness with the omnipresent miso which packs a tasty punch but has a chameleon like quality which allows it to adapt to each dish, bringing out the flavours in just the right way. We were then lucky enough to try some kobe beef, the famous Japanese delicacy, and a benchmark dish in any Asian restaurant worth its salt. The meat was exquisitely presented, almost as a carpaccio, and did not disappoint – with a spicy sesame sauce that complemented the subtle flavours of the beef perfectly. This amazingly orchestrated meal was finished off with a light and subtle coconut ice cream lollipop with warm caramel sauce – the perfect end to a hugely satisfying and pleasurable taste experience.


Hotel Puente Romano
ES-29601 Marbella, Malagá

0034 630 962 852 / 676 920 474 | puenteromano.com

About the reviewer, Beverly

Living in Marbella for 20 years and loving it!
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