IT should come as no surprise that restaurant Reina Zingara is one of the true magical spots on the coast.
For, the new restaurant is the brainchild of Biagio Carroccea, 31, one of Andalucia’s most passionate chefs, who also doubles as a magician.
Half Italian, half gypsy, this dynamo of creativity is just as happy to demonstrate levitation, as he is to talk about food.
After an exciting meal of 10 courses I was treated to a display of magic that included making my watch stop, as well as levitating a coin from my palm.
Heralding from one of Andalucia’s most mythical families, Reina Zingara is named after Biagio’s grandmother, the Queen Zingara – or Queen of the Gypsies.
Already running one of Malaga’s most popular restaurants, last month he opened his second eaterie at the stunning spot at San Roque Suites golf hotel.
With a passion for top ingredients and wine – spending much of his year travelling to find them – the menu is a riot of flavours and originality.
Described as Mediterranean ‘fusion food’, this is haute cuisine with a good mix of Italian, Spanish and local Andaluz.
However some of his best dishes come from France or Galicia, where he worked as a chef for three years.
A must try is the fantastic foie served with fruit bread and a puree of apple and vanilla, while the squid cooked in a wonderful mashed potato with cream, truffle, pepper and olive oil was super rich.
The wonderful leg of lamb is cooked with 15 spices for 10 hours at a certain temperature to take out the collagen. A solomillo steak on a bed of carrots with Catalan-style potatoes, has a distinct sweet and sour flavour.
The puddings, dubbed the Seven Sins, are varied and include an amazing Belgium chocolate mouse with a touch of space dust. A ‘torrija’ of coconut and caramel blew me away.
Biagio started cooking at the age of 12 in his father’s restaurant, which was set up in the 1960s in Fuengirola.
While today he is busy buzzing between his two restaurants, he also doubles up as a motivational guru for sports stars and teams.
As well as helping Granada FC to get into Spain’s football elite he is also set to work for NBA basketball giants Cleveland.
“It is all mind control and willing you on to win,” he explains.
He certainly has a surefire winner with Reina Zingara, a true Queen of the South.