Castillo de Monda
Calle de la Villeta 6 Monda 29110
Tel: 952 45 98 36 | email@example.com
Take a pinch of history, a splash of mountain views and a dash of Dutch talent and you’ve got the perfect ingredients for an exciting inland gem.
And that is certainly the case at the reborn Castillo de Monda.
Lording over the inland town that sits between Marbella and the Guadalhorce Valley, you could not ask for a better location.
But this stunning hotel also has a star chef Jaap Schaafsma, 31, who wouldn’t be out of place in Marbella and indeed spent many years cooking in some of the best restaurants back home in Holland.
It is definitely a welcome return for the friendly Dutchman, who previously cooked up a storm at the popular nearby Santa Fe, in Coin, before heading home to the Netherlands for a few years.
He has definitely come back stronger and his small but talented team is creating one of the most exciting menus I have tried in Andalucia.
Combining a range of styles from around the world, there is a fabulous take on cerviche, with seabass, coriander and grapefruit and a superb Salmon sashimi.
Doffing his hat at local dishes too there are quails in bacon, chives and honey and a rack of lamb with aubergine and tarragon.
But also expect plenty of vegetarian dishes and salads and there are three local breads from the village.
I absolutely loved the steak tartare starter, while the ‘picanton’ wild chicken with panceta pork belly and lots of winter veg was a real dive-in classic winter smorgasbord of joy.
But that is not all. You sit in a fabulous light chapel-like dining room, with stain glass windows and amazing photos on the wall from around the nearby Sierra de las Nieves.
Meanwhile, the staff are relaxed, much thanks to the co-owner Maryn’s brother who designed the uniforms.
The wine list was surprisingly in depth (Roda 1, Contino Reserva) and there are a decent number of wines by the glass, most at just 3 euros.
The Chateau Violet Lamothe, from Sauterne, was as pleasing as the vanilla creme brulee with orange sorbet to finish.
TOP DISH: The steak tartare with croutons, lukewarm mayonnaise with Raz-el-Hanout sauce was a splendid and fun way to kick off a meal
TOP TIPPLE: I always love the Gran Bazan albarino, which is good value at 26 euros
TOP DOLLAR: Around 30 euros a head including wine
TOP TIP: Stay the night and be sure to build up your appetite with a great one hour circular walk from the hotel
TOP KIP: Obviously here dodo’s