[Los Cristianos, Tenerife, Spain] Cocina Creativa

If I was going to set up a restaurant in the area serving food that leans towards the cutting edge of modern Spanish cuisine, then I’d also have set it up in the El Camison area, where there’s already a number of good restaurants. There’s a short menu which runs alongside a six course, no choice, tasting menu and, indeed, only the tasting menu was available on the night we went. Whilst it’s not the sort of menu you want to eat at every restaurant meal, it’s a good way to get a feel for what a place is about and you get to try new food combinations that you wouldn’t otherwise have ordered. Here, they clearly intend fusion between eastern and western cuisines. It sounded quite exciting.

Bread was first up and, I suppose, an extra course in itself. There was a thin, very crispy baguette, another incorporating honey and a third made from cornmeal. Alongside, an alioli incorporating banana to give it a Tenerifian spin and add a little sweetness. A single bite croquette followed using the soft Almogrote goats cheese from La Gomera, drizzled with a little caramel rum.

Next up, a terrine with layers of foie gras, apple, goats cheese and guava, with arty, cheffy dots of sauce decorating the plate. It was quite sweet which just about worked with the richness of the liver. That was followed by the first of the fusion plates. A Chinese style bao bun but filled with “pulled” goat and pickled oriental mushrooms. I suppose it’s their riff on a char siu bun and it worked really well.

Tempura vegetables next. A small selection – courgette, cauliflower, etc – in a crisp batter, drizzled with caramel and given a squeeze of lemon. In itself, this worked but the meal was starting to feel that they’d overdone the sweet elements a bit. Fusion continued with the next plate – a classic European combination of duck with orange sauce. But here, the duck was encased in Chinese style dumplings and the whole thing was spiked with 5 spice powder and something hot – chilli, Sichuan pepper or similar. I thought this was probably the best of the savoury dishes – and what’s not to like about duck with orange.

The final savoury course returned firmly to Europe with shrimp and mushroom risotto. This was skilfully crafted – served quite wet as you’d get in Italy and perfectly seasoned.

Dessert was an excellent chocolate ganache, not overly sweet, paired with pistachio ice cream. Another success.

This is only a small place. One cooks, the other does front of house. There’s a third member of staff who does all the other odd jobs. Service is friendly, engaging and very hospitable with the chef occasionally bringing the dishes himself, so he can ask how you’re enjoying his food. “Todo bien y gracias, jefe”. As tends to be the case with tasting menus, this is not a quick meal but set yourself aside three hours and enjoy food that you just won’t find elsewhere in the tourist areas.

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1 cook with 6 course tasting menu, wow, hats off.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold