What could be better than sitting under the stars on a warm sultry Spanish summer evening, soft music playing, jewelled waterfall lights dancing, enjoying the absolute ultimate in dining experiences? Well, this is exactly what you get at Novelli´s, the restaurant recently opened in Puerto Banus by the world renowned French chef Jean Christophe Novelli.
The restaurant itself is the epitome of chic elegance, with sumptuous furnishings in red leather and black velvet, however, on the warm evening we attended everyone, understandably, had chosen to dine on the decked poolside terrace. We were very impressed with the generous space between the dining tables, ensuring each dining party enjoyed a secluded and intimate atmosphere.
And the menu? We ate Spider Crab “Tian” as a starter….. Encompassed in a vanilla and lime crème fraiche, chilled mango gazpacho and baby basil, this was wonderful. For main course our steak with herb butter and lamb chops with wild mountain herbs were both “melt in the mouth” tender and could have been cut with a butter knife. And dessert? Well, where do I start? They all sounded so delicious it was virtually impossible to choose, but eventually we decided on the Banana Tarte Tatin which is one of Jean Christophe’s signature dishes, and the Pineapple Carpaccio, described as “Carpaccio of Pineapple, coconut and tarragon sorbet, pineapple crisp, lime jellies, sherbet and air”. Both desserts were equally delicious, but I must expand a little on my choice, the Pineapple Carpaccio…..what a fantastic explosion of different flavors and textures that just has to be tasted to be believed! Bearing in mind the six desserts all sounded equally delicious, we wonder if Jean Christophe would consider putting on the menu a taster selection….a mini portion of each one. Or maybe we are just greedy! Speaking of taster menus, the restaurant offers (prior booking only and for minimum 5 and maximum 10) for 150 Euros, a tasting menu, which consists of eight courses cooked directly in front of you, each course explained to you in detail by the chef.
Jean Christophe also runs a cooking academy here in the restaurant, where he personally gives master classes for students of all ages and abilities.
Jean Christophe was not “in residence” the evening of our dinner, but his professional and attentive staff, headed by Maitre ´d Antonio, Jean Christophe’s absolutely charming brother, looked after us beautifully.
Our only criticism of Novelli´s was that it was a little difficult to find (and we are local to the area!). Perhaps Jean Christophe would consider putting a map on the website to ensure everyone who wishes to may easily find this wonderful restaurant!
PS: A little bird tells me that Jean Christophe maybe starting a new Novelli Academy/Chef’s Table in Los Angeles shortly……if he does, don’t miss it all you lucky Los Angelinos!!!!! In the meantime, for those of you fortunate enough to be visiting Puerto Banus, Novellis is open every evening for dinner from 7.30 until 11 pm. Roast lunch is served every Sunday from 12 until 4 pm and a “mange vite” selection served every day from 12.00 until 10.00 pm.
Sisu Boutique Hotel at Lorcrimar
Marbella, Spain 29660
0034 952 9292 69
Q: What made you decide to open a restaurant in Spain, and why specifically did you chose Puerto Banus?
Jean-Christophe Novelli: Because I have spent a lot of time in Spain and the local produce is great. I knew a larger percentage of the customers were likely to be British & Irish people and also this specific area is very accessible whilst being a short distance from the port, being a very desirable, newley developed area which has a great future
Q: Have you been pleased with the response you have received now you have been open for some three months?
A: We are absolutely ecstatic with the response and considering the economic climate are astounded by the amount of repeat business and particularly the warmth and the reception we have received from the local people, suppliers, staff and also the local competitors
Q: How does Novelli’s, Puerto Banus differ from the other ventures you have been involved in?
A: People here seem to be, in general, far more relaxed due to the favourable climate combined with the fact that they are on holiday. I get a greater deal of consistency with the produce.
Q: What was the inspiration behind the menu offered at Novelli´s, Puerto Banus?
A: The inspiration from dealing with the cosmopolitan and laid back culture & late eating versatile & lighter combination of recipes.
Q: What region of the world in your opinion offers the finest food?
A: In general I have been pretty impressed by the 4 corners of the globe. I have very much enjoyed the simularities. The standard of Los Angeles which is on the same latitude line as Spain & the Mediterranean. And this is very much my cup of tea and where I belong / am most comfortable.
Q: Who has been the most important influence in your career?
A: My mother, Marco Pierre White and Keith Floyd.
Q: What is your all time favourite dish a) to cook and b) to eat?
A: If it has to be a dish it has to be one improvised at the last minute. I just love cooking. To single out one dish would be unfair to the overall pleasure I ge t from cooking.
My all time favourite dish to eat is my mothers stuffed baked tomatoes