Travels with a Gourmet

a food lover's travels, memorable meals, culinary trials and gastronomic experiences

After a hectic day with the children at the Selwo Adventure Park , we went back home to rest up for dinner at one of Marbella’s most famous nightspots.

Nikki Beach is a beach club and restaurant with a pumping club that starts very late at night and lasts till dawn. There are Nikki Beach clubs all over – from St. Tropez to Cabo San Lucas to Marrakech and even Miami. They’re mostly the same everywhere with a retaurant, a beach club and a dance club and are well-known for throwing wild parties during the summer.

There were six of us for dinner and we had booked a table for 9:00 p.m. Although quite early for Spain, the restaurant was already half-filled with mostly British men and women sitting in large groups at separate tables. The menu is extensive the variety is continental with a whole range of dishes spanning several cuisines so it took a while to decide what we were all going to order. We shared the appetizers family-style – the Nikki Beach Sushi sampler for two with spicy tuna rolls, pearl roll, nigiri sushi and sashimi and the Nikki Beach Signature Plate of seared foie gras, tuna tataki, fire-roasted asparagus and Marbella pilpil (gambas in olive oil, garlic and chili). There was enough to go around and this was accompanied by a crisp Pinot Grigio from Paladin.

Main courses followed and the portions were unbelievably huge. I had ordered a Chicken Satay which came in a two-layer bamboo steamer basket with the steamed rice on the top and the chicken on the bottom which would have been more than enough for two. It was not that good and definitely not a chicken satay – more like sauteed chicken in peanut sauce. A had the Chicken Milanese which was a large pan-fried breaded chicken escalope filled with sundried tomatoes, fresh buffalo mozzarella and kalamata olives and topped with pesto – it was good but gigantic and impossible to finish. T had the duck which was described on the menu as duck confit which wan’t a confit at all but a sauteed magret (breast). It was served with citrus and star anise marmalade and sweet potato wedges. The marmalade was too sweet and overpowered the duck’s flavor.

F, who is constantly counting calories had a tuna tataki starter as her main course. S had the oven roasted rack of lamb with Basmati rice, mango chutney and a cucumber and mint raita while his brother, D, had the grilled Dover sole meuniere which was by far the most decent dish out of the six we ordered.

Three desserts were shared by all: key lime meringue tart with lime zest crème anglaise and a lime sorbet, and the two chocolate desserts on the menu – molten-centered chocolate cake cake served with creme anglaise, raspberry coulis and vanilla ice cream and the Chocoholic Delight which had a chocolate biscuit, double chip chocolate brownie and chocolate ice cream. Espressos finished off the meal. Overall a decent meal with the appetizers and desserts much better than the main courses. Service throughout the meal was unobtrusive, efficient and courteous – a surprise as usually the service at happening beach clubs isn’t that great.
We wandered over to the club afterwards since those who’ve dined at the restaurant get free entry so we thought we might as well check it out. The large open space had a thatched roof held up by large columns just like a beach hut. There were a few lounge areas but most of the floor was given over to bopping babes and dudes enjoying a night on the town. The crowd was dressed in beach chic and the atmosphere was relaxed yet lively with male and female go-go dancers on pedestals in the middle of the room. After people-watching, we decided to head home and it was only starting to get packed by the time we left at around 1:00 a.m. Nikki Beach is definitely a good way to spend a summer evening with friends in Marbella, just don’t expect gourmet cuisine.
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