In 2016 a colleague of mine took over my old restaurant Nueva Campana in La Campana, Nueva Andalucia. It was a beautiful old building but in fairness needed some interior (and exterior) work. But nothing would have prepared me for the transformation that was to lie ahead. Painstakingly he started to reform the building bit by bit: and when I say HE I mean him. With the help of a few labourers Stybjorn Holm built, rendered tiled and painted and his determination to ‘get it right’ took him the best part of three years. His attention to detail has culminated in a stunning, ultra modern, yet classic eatery. While the outside may look like some form of penitentiary the inside exudes class and style. From my point of view, on my visits, the most impressive alterations have been the kitchen refit. State of the art main kitchens and where the old bar area was it now has a superb service kitchen facing into the room. The adjoining room which in my day was an extension to the main restaurant and a private dining room (which in latter months housed the replacement Funky Tapas) has been turned into a bar/bodega.
Stybjorn was responsible for the development and success of the hugely popular Magna Café in Nueva Andalucia and I have no reason to believe that La Campana will not achieve the same success. The terraces have been replaced with covered areas with sliding roofs and windows that open completely to allow air into the rooms but, as is good for this time of year, fully air conditioned.
- The menu is a mixture of classic dishes with a Swedish style. Recent visits allowed us to taste Prawn Skagen a classic Swedish dish excellently prepared (a nice touch I thought was to keep the onions separate from the mix) and a loin of Gravadlachs. This standard Swedish staple was not your normal thin slices of salmon but a loin, which had been marinated perfectly and served with the wonderful dill mayonnaise so associated with this dish. The Tuna Tartar was also a hit as were the Pan Fried Scallops with Apple (less apple would be to my taste). Surf and Turf: Half Lobster with Fillet Steak doesn’t break the bank at 34.50. In fact the prices across the board are all reasonable. There is a Sea Grill with such offerings as ½ Lobster, Tiger Prawns and a Monkfish and Prawn Skewer. On the Meat Grill you can chooses a plain Fillet Steak (served with a myriad of sauces), Chateaubriand, Lamb Chops and a Veal Entrecôte. Although the menu seems large — and it certainly covers a lot of requirements — it’s well balanced and everyone will find something they like down to Pastas and Risotto. There is a small but adequate selection of desserts from Apple Cake to Banana Split! The Wine Bodega is worth just sitting in. Look around the walls at a huge selection of wines. French, Italian, New World and of course Spanish: and unless you want to push the boat out all the wines are very reasonably priced especially the very drinkable house wines.
Styjborn’s ethos is much the same as mine, choose the product well, treat it with respect, create food for the eye as well as the taste buds and moreover offer value for money. So much so, the Dish of the Day at 9.90 represents that and on the day that I had it, I had a plate of perfectly cooked salmon, sea bass, scallops and king prawn.
It was a little weird revisiting my old haunt and seeing all the changes and coming to terms with its new image but he has done a great job and I am happy that La Campana went in to safe professional hands.