You can take seafood out of the sea, but you can never take the sea out of seafood. This is probably why we enjoy the fruits of the Mediterranean so much. Their appeal lies in the briny memory imprinted in their soft flesh, which is then enhanced by the expertise of the designated chef. Such is the case at the Vinotheque Bistro at the Marina Hotel Corinthia Beach Resort. The cosy but chic restaurant has an exclusive mussel menu, which is teamed with an equally impressive à la carte selection of pasta, fish and meat dishes.
My partner and I were welcomed by exceptionally professional members of staff whose courtesy complemented the elegant design of the bistro. A fresh selection of bread with a flavourful olive tapenade whetted our appetites as we waited for our order.
I must say, I found it very hard to choose from the eclectic menu, and I wanted a mouthful of everything. I finally settled for the saumon marine as a starter, while my partner opted for a salade césar et saumon grillé. I also couldn’t help but quench my curiosity by ordering the octopus carpaccio to share. My marinated salmon came in a few juicy and vinegary slices, accompanied by slightly grilled bruschetta. I was very happy that these had their softness retained, as they very nicely absorbed the salmon’s juices as I wiped my plate clean with them. My partner’s generous portion of salmon in her salad had a beautiful salty crust. The fillet’s skin had been crystallised, which consequently allowed for its parmesan crowning to lusciously melt on top of it. I cannot conclude my thoughts on this dish without mentioning the tender texture of the salmon. However, the star ingredient was in fact the dressing. Its acidity was nuanced by the bite of crushed pine nuts within it, which gave a fabulous nuttiness to the overall starter.
Image: Salade césar et saumon grillé and saumon marine
We then moved on to the much awaited octopus carpaccio. The first thing my tongue detected was the fresh residue left by the octopus’ minty garnish. The two merged perfectly together. Then came the actual texture of the meat, which was delicate, light and melt-in-the-mouth. As the octopus dissolved on my tongue, I got an explosion of saltiness and zesty lemon, which left a great aftertaste.
Image: Octopus carpaccio
Then came the pièce de résistance of our nautical journey. We insisted on sampling the mussels menu, and we’re very much glad we did. While my partner opted for the mules marinières, I wanted to go all out with the mussels and prawn platter. As a side, we chose to have the potato and celeriac gratin to share. The creamy sauce of the mules marinières tamed the pungent flavour of the garlic and sea salt within the sauce. The mussels themselves were immersed in this lovely liquid and contributed an overall juicy experience with every bite. My platter looked and tasted overwhelming. I am not a fan of eating with my hands, I must admit, and I was slightly dreading the task of de-shelling the king prawns and getting my fingers dirty. However, when I discovered the generous fleshiness hidden underneath their armour, unravelling them soon turned into an exuberant experience. They had a divinely buttery texture which was absolutely addictive. The mussels showcased the freshness of garlic used in the stock, and they married well with the acidity of a good helping of stewed cherry tomatoes, which were a pleasure to have within the dish. I must say that we had some very strong and sharp flavours on our plates. To ease this, we dug into the fluffiness of the potato gratin. Like its layers, the taste of potato was sandwiched by the before and after flavour of cheese. A truly comforting side dish.
Image: Mules marinières
Image: Mussels and prawn platter
Image: Potato and celeriac gratin
My partner and I had a wonderfully leisurely meal, and knowing that we had 3 hours of free parking, we had ample time to savour our evening at the Vinotheque Bistro. I will definitely be returning again to try out the other dishes I had missed out on.
For more information and online booking, visit the Vinotheque Bistro online portal.
For reservations, call +356 2370 2000.
Marina Hotel Corinthia Beach Resort
St George’s Bay, St Julian’s
Image: The Vinotheque Bistro
Image: Mules marinières, mussels and prawn platter, focaccia, potato and celeriac gratin