Savor – Where flavour and colour come together
Savor is easily one of the best restaurants in San Pedro Alcántara, a dining option that brings together beautifully crafted and presented flavours grounded in Andalucía yet infused with the colour and vivaciousness of Cuba.
Words by Michel Cruz
Photography by Kevin Horn
This article was first published in Essential magazine – www.essentialmagazine.com/savor-san-pedro/
Savor is the creation of Pablo Castillo, a talented young chef with local Málaga roots whose position with an important hotel group saw him gain experience in such exotic places as Cuba. The skills and impressions thus acquired are visible in his offering, for Savor builds from local Spanish-Mediterranean roots but adds tantalising touches of Cuban-Caribbean colour and flavour, with just a hint of Thai inspiration too.
San Pedro fine dining
The setting is the charming heart of San Pedro Alcántara; close enough to absorb its atmosphere but thanks to a position somewhat raised from the road also private. This allows you to see and feel the town without being disturbed by it. Just as it blends cultural influences, so the décor and ambience of Savor is a harmony of stylish and cosy, with traditional values such as good service balancing the modern culinary creativity of the chef and his team.
The wine list is good too, so you won’t want for options, and the fact that the cocktails offered are capable of winning prizes says enough. Savor is also the proud winner of prestigious tapas competitions in both San Pedro and Málaga, and its terrace area is popular with those who come to enjoy a drink and sample Pablo’s ability to raise this mainstay of Spanish cuisine to an altogether new level.
With a chef of this standing, however, Savor is above all known for its inspiring á la carte menu and tasting experiences. The chef works with local suppliers of fresh produce, so the menu follows the seasons, with spring adding exciting new options filled with the restaurant’s trademark flavour and colour. They are the product of a skilful melange of cultural traditions that injects dishes you think you know with added intensity and taste.
It is this which makes the restaurant stand out and become a dining experience you will want to come back to. The tasting menus in particular are a real treat, and matched with delicious wines. We sampled one, consisting of snacks, tapas aperitifs, seafood soup, fish and meat dish, followed by dessert. Its name is ‘Arte’, and that is exactly what it is – a gorgeous ode to the technical and creative artistry of an exciting young chef.
An artful menu
Our experience commenced with a series of delicious flavour-packed snacks in the form of crispy rice with a bean hummus; fried banana with a taramasalata of fish roe splashed with citric Yuzu; and Yucca crisps with spicy Mojo Criollo sauce; matched with a Palo Cortado sherry from Jerez de la Frontera. These finely crafted little dishes set the tone for a true taste sensation that builds in intensity as the meal progresses.
Pablo takes the classic Spanish croquet and gives it new life as a gorgeous delicacy filled with Korean-style Kimchi with tuna tartare and Wasabi guacamole, and matches this with a Marques de la Concordia cava that sparkles and refreshes in the mouth. It’s a true food lover’s delight, and also a very sociable way to dine out. Next, we enjoyed patatas bravas in Japanese Tempura with foam of Sriracha, a Thai chilli sauce.
The other tapas included Presa Iberica pork with a quail’s egg and mini fries; a creamy croquette of fine Iberian ham and a tomato mayonnaise, and a glass of superb Lalomba Rioja wine. The next course consisted of a modern variation of traditional Spanish callos in a Tom Yum flavoured soup with octopus. As one of us is allergic to some of these ingredients, a special taco of Cuban ‘Ropa Vieja’ shredded steak with avocado, coriander and onion drizzled with lime was prepared – all served with a fresh white Chardonnay (Cloe) from Ronda.
The flavours of the sea marked one of the absolute high points of the meal, made up of beautifully succulent corvina in a Mediterranean sauce further enhanced with Japanese garlic. This lovely dish was accompanied by a Felix Azpilicueta Private Collection white wine from La Rioja, a region that also provided the choice of red for the meat experience that typically marks the crescendo of the dining experience.
The Mirto Crianza is a good pairing for the unusual but flavoursome goat’s meat prepared in a jus flavoured with honey and Amontillado sweet wine, and served with fondue of goat’s cheese and pineapple chutney. As with all the dishes throughout this outstanding meal, the presentation, service and taste experience more than satisfied, culminating in a festivity of sweet flavours with a fantastic smoked chocolate mousse with fruits of the forest
An experience to Savor
This, and the ‘drawers’ of small cheese, carrot and chocolate cake went down beautifully with a Chinchilla Vino Maestro from Ronda – a sweet and refreshing white wine.
Pablo is a passionate, talented chef with the ambition to win a Michelin star, and judging by the joys on offer at Savor, there is every chance that he will do just that!