Calle Compositor Serrano Lucena, 14, 14010
I was very fortunate to receive the wonderful gift of dinner at Choco for my 30th birthday, from my brother and sister.
Choco is one of Córdoba’s current three Michelin star restaurants (quite impressive for a relatively small city of 300,000 people). The head chef and creator is Kisko García, a native Córdobes who was awarded his Michelin star in 2012.
The mission of Choco is to take diners on a culinary tour of Andalucía of the five senses which he researched personally on a detailed tour throughout the region, discovering the herbs, vegetables, fruits, meats and dairy grown, made and used in homes and restaurants across the land.
All products are locally sourced with a vast selection of good wines- I was even surprised to see local Córdobes red wines which I didn’t know were produced here. (This information is taken and translated from his website at www.restaurantechoco.es )
My sister and brother had booked me on to the ‘Barrio Antiguo‘ (Old Neighbourhood) set menu which was 90 euros for 14 tasting dishes.
I will add the English translations of these dishes from the photo of the Spanish menu below:
- Cone of vegetables
- Smoked fish
- Caviar tart
- Roast sardine
- Goat’s butter
- Green gazpacho, horse mackerel and osmosed cucumber
- Gazpachuelo (a cold soup of fish, garlic and mayonnaise, eggs and bread), shrimps and corn
- Salmorejo (cold soup from Córdoba made from tomatoes, bread, olive oil and garlic), langoustine and oyster leaf
- Andalusian red tuna, green leaves and mint
- Vegetable stew and spearmint
- Cuttlefish in a yellow sauce, roast sea bass and milfoil
- Iberian pork, roast garlic and coal oil
- Dessert of lemon and lime sorbet bomb
- Dessert of ‘ruins’ (deconstructed honeycomb)
When the fourteen courses were finished, they brought over an ornament of a silver olive tree which was surrounded by little jewel looking macarons, chocolate and something resembling Turkish delight which ended the meal beautifully:
The ‘Barrio Antiguo‘ set menu is dominated by fish and vegetables with only one dish featuring meat (pork). In the past, I was a much fussier eater and would not have been able to eat very much of this as I avoided vegetables and fish as much as possible however maturity and living in Spain have encouraged me to eat these things now which is a good job as they are healthy.
My favourite dishes were the green gazpacho, goat’s butter, salmorejo and the desserts.
The flavours were so subtle and complementary to one another; no one flavour overwhelmed the other therefore there was no need for a palette cleanser in between courses.
This poetic message written beneath the menu is from the chef Kisko García, explaining his mission for Choco which translates as:
“I have flown over the sea of the south, high in the night. I have walked the dawn of Córdoba and dived in waters which carry the scent of orange blossom. I have felt all the heat, all the cold, all the pain. But, if something moves me to search, it is pleasure. The violent pleasure of fire and wind. The exquisite pleasure of a subtle but unforgettable aroma. For pleasure I have been very far and very high, always returning to the origins. I have decided to tell, for the five senses, the story of all my travels, of all my searches, of the immense joys. The story of how delight takes us to the highest heights so we can see everything better. I have decided to tell each day, over a table, the story of pleasure.”
I felt that was worth translating and including here as it is so beautifully thought out and written and shows that epicurean pleasure is not just in the moment of tasting food and drink but in the whole experience from start to finish, the social rituals and memories attached which are enhanced if the food is special.
I did not take many photos as I wanted to enjoy every moment.
Decor/ Style and the Experience
Choco is located in an unassuming neighbourhood but once inside you could be in London or Paris in terms of modernity and style.
I was greeted by the reception staff who sat me down on seats made of chopped down tree trunks with the wine menu then they brought the first two courses to have with my drink.
Next, sliding doors opened and I was ushered into the kitchen where I was greeted by Kisko García. He shook my hand and offered me a gift of a bag of mixed dried herbs grown on site. A chef prepared the third course in front of me while Kisko talked me through the ingredients.
For the rest of the courses, I was shown through to the main dining room (see first photo). The decor was simple and stylish- think white tablecloths, white and silver cutlery, trendy lighting and the elaborate and unusual main chandelier as the centre piece.
I think there were around 6-8 tables and the night I was there, only three were occupied. The staff are incredibly attentive and explain everything and are always on hand to top your wine and water.
Choco provided me with a memorable and beautiful night to remember my 30th by and opened me up to a culinary experience like I had never had before.
I would certainly return one day in the future for a special occasion.
Córdoba’s two other Michelin starred restaurants are:
Have you dined at Choco? How did you find the experience?
Can you recommend any of the other two named above?