For a superlative dining experience, the route leads straight to Finca Cortesin, the renowned golf and spa resort in the rolling hills near Estepona. Here you will encounter a true garden of delights.
El Jardín de Lutz is so named because for most of the year the main dining room is a delightful courtyard that overlooks an Elysian garden. It is the setting of an experience that takes dining on the Costa del Sol to new levels and meets those of the finest culinary centres of the world, for Finca Cortesin is not only one of the best hotels in Spain – it is also renowned for the fine dining it offers.
The garden – and restaurant – are named after Lutz Bösing, a master chef who creates beautiful dishes drawn from Spanish and Mediterranean tradition and then elevated to high modern standards.
Here the maître d’hotel and his team of courteous, efficient and friendly waiters do the cuisine justice with a level of service that also blends in with the beautiful surroundings.
As the evenings cool, the main focus moves to the interior dining room, but this is certainly no shame as it exudes the warm refinement of a beautifully maintained country estate – a feeling you sense throughout this hotel, which feels like a palace yet is also intimate and welcoming.
The holy trinity of dining
If there are three ingredients that are the vital building blocks of any top restaurant they are: ambience, service and of course the cuisine offered. All have to be of a superlative level for an establishment to be classified as ‘fine dining’, let alone be ranked among the best.
El Jardín de Lutz achieves this with verve, standing head and shoulders above most restaurants on the Costa del Sol to find itself among a select elite of venues where you can enjoy dining of a truly international standard.
This is true of the elegant décor, whose classic ambience is timeless in its appeal, providing the conditions in which to fully appreciate the accomplished dishes that emerge from the kitchen of Lutz Bösing.
Food lovers enjoy!
To dine at El Jardín de Lutz is therefore a pleasure and a privilege, starting the moment you arrive. We were offered a glass of Champagne rosé and a fino wine (La Bota de Fino) with excellent body.
They were accompanied by traditional Spanish picos breadsticks to dip in tapenade and a delicious chorizo and cream cheese. We were tempted to enjoy the rare treat of a menu de degustación, commencing with octopus with a spicy Chipotle sauce on a tiny bed of potato.
The palate thus awakened, we were served partridge on a bed of fresh vegetables with a drizzling of jus. With the next dish, a gorgeous vegetable tempura topped with a fried egg and generous shavings of truffle, we enjoyed a very fresh and crisp Albariño, Pazos de Lusco.
Though vivacious it was also gentle, which made it a great companion for one of the highlights of the evening – the Caldereta de Bogavante. This lobster stew is inspired by a Spanish classic, though with its choice ingredients, preparation and presentation, is even better than the less refined version made in homes across the country.
For the beautifully tender beef topped with a béarnaise sauce the accompanying red wine again hailed from Galicia, a region known for its white wines but now also gaining reputation for vintages such as the Ribeira Sacra Lalama that we enjoyed.
Full-bodied though light, it was once again a superb pairing. A truly special experience was completed with delightful ‘choc bubbles’ with a soft, crispy exterior and chocolate cream inside.
Made with the finest ingredients, it pleases the sweet tooth without being too sugary, which also applies to the Selva Negra – Lutz’s own creative take on the Black Forest theme, combining white chocolate and salted caramel ice cream in a crisp pastry with delicious cherries in a warm fruity sauce. A true sensation!
The same is true of El Jardín de Lutz in general, so whether you prefer the terrace or the ambient dining room, do not deprive yourself of this experience.
Words Michel Cruz / Photography Kevin Horn
Tel: 952 937 800.