The Marbella chef Dani García returns to haute cuisine after a lapse of 2 years due to the closure of the restaurant that bore his name, and this time he does it in a big way with the two Michelin stars awarded in this year’s edition to ‘Smoked Room’, opened in Madrid in June 2021 in the ground floor of the Hyatt Regency Hesperia hotel.
– How are you after receiving the two stars?
–Happy and surprised because in the end they are 6 months old and after leaving haute cuisine. Also surprised because it is the first time in history that they do it that way, it seems that since 1936 something similar has not happened.
–What has the guide valued to give you two stars at once?
–The restaurant was born in a solid company, with a financial muscle important and that comes from the hands of people who have been with 3 Michelin stars. So, I imagine that for them is important, and above all, what they have shown me is professionalism, honesty and value the place where it is, beyond what happened in the past. I was always grateful that they trusted me, but now much more.
– Michelin continues to trust his group and has awarded him two stars despite the criticism …
– There are many nuances here, because the criticisms come from the people, not from Michelin towards me or vice versa, but rather what is formed around it and what people imagine versus reality. My relationship with Michelin has never been badWhen I made the decision to leave haute cuisine, I sat down with them and told them the decision and agreed on the message that I was going to say. Although they respected the decision on a personal level, on a professional level they understood it a little less, but that does not mean that I behaved cordially with them because of the respect I have for them and because they have given me everything and they have given me me.
– How is the return to the Michelin circuit planned?
–I always said that I would return only in a smaller, exclusive and bar format. I also said, that I have failed in that, that probably if I returned it would be out of Spain, but it has been all circumstantial. We took the place in Madrid de Leña and there we saw that the hotel gave us more space and did not want to make a super large restaurant either. So, we started talking about whether to put a cocktail bar, and suddenly, one day I said about doing that project that I talked about at the time, something truly more than haute cuisine, something tremendously special focused on the product. We are in Firewood, and as a common thread and synergy we are going to do something that is over a live fire, grilled, and that’s how it came about. It has not really been something that we have thought about a year before, we always have concepts in the drawers and sometimes they come out because the time comes, the place, etc.
– Haute cuisine is a world that you left voluntarily 2 years ago, what does it mean to return?
–It’s sgo to the stage where I wanted to be. When he was in the restaurant ‘Dani García’ it implied a series of situations in which he must have been there. So now the scenario is very different, it is the one I always wanted to be in because it is a restaurant that doesn’t put my name on it, and therefore it gives me a little more freedom. It is also a restaurant in which I have a team that can perfectly execute our idea by putting their own as well, but agreeing on them with me and it does not require my presence, which is essential; and in a format that is highly controllable in terms of size.
– What capacity does Smoked have?
-Is for 14 people and you can look much more for perfection, and above all it is inspired by Japanese restaurants. Japan is the country in the world that has the most Michelin stars and it is probably because of that perfection, because they are all small in which perfection and excellence are scratched, and that is what Smoked is and that is how I propose my return to haute cuisine, in a format in which I believe, in which I am not needed and in which I can have fun too.
-What is the concept?
-Is a restaurant focused on product and raw material slightly touched by grilled cooking, but there are many other things that are smoked or toasted and that do not have to be pure and hard protein. In the end we are in Madrid, but there are many Malaga connotations, there is an Iberian gazpacho with espardeña, a Malaga ajoblanco of smoked eel with nitro tomato or a stew with seaweed juice and grilled caviar, and in the end it has those connotations and that DNA. malagueños.
– What role does smoke play?
-He plays paper of elegance, we want it to be something like salt and pepper. It is not an excess, it is an elegant and subtle point because in the end you do not need to have that smoked sensation in 12 dishes and for two hours. In that sense, what smoke plays is a dressing role.
–What does ‘Smoked Room’ offer and what is the raw material with which it works?
–It offers magic, it is a truly magical place where the client feels tremendously cared for and treated, hence the exclusivity because there are only 14 people, and that closeness. Then the menu is full, right now we have white truffles, barnacles, elvers, viceroy …
– What creations characterize the place?
-There’s a white nitro tomato that we had never done before, it has always been the smoked eel with smoked white garlic. The plate of barnacles is made on the grill and then it is with a smoked herb butter, also the stew comes from the three Michelin stars evolved with a seaweed juice and grilled caviar, a viceroy with a miso emulsion or a juice of tomato with citrus and mollusk. They are those types of haute cuisine dishes that have the spark of the product.
– What other openings are you planning at an international level?
– Next year we are curious with many openings. The next will be in January or February in Qatar, The big family, and Lobito in Doha. Then it will be near Paris and then Miami.