Foodie Friday – El Pimpi, Malaga

Don’t you just love it when you come across a real treasure totally unexpectedly. I discovered El Pimpi completely by accident on the one night that I spent in Malaga last November.

I was in Malaga to catch a flight home the next morning and I hadn’t really undertaken much research about where to go, what to do, or where to eat. I was staying in a hostel for the night and it had a roof top restaurant so I was planning on eating there, purely for convenience.

I must say Malaga surprised me in many ways, even in the short time I was there I saw so many interesting places. I would certainly like to return for a longer stay on another occasion.

The discovery

As I walked through the square on the Friday afternoon there were many people dining outside this place, and although the name, El Pimpi, caught my eye there was nothing particularly attention grabbing about the building so I walked on. However, when I turned the corner I noticed another entrance that looked intriguing, I think it was the word Tunel that sounded interesting, and as I am never one to miss an opportunity to have a quick look, I went inside.

Well, talk about a surprise! It is a maze of different rooms, both upstairs and down, with huge wine barrels lining some of the walls, all signed by celebrities. On the walls of the narrow bar area there is a wonderful collection of photographs of people who have visited, including Placido Domingo and members of the Picasso family. It’s quite fascinating to look at all the framed photographs and see who you can recognise. Of course, many of the celebrities would be much more well known by the Spanish customers.

Some of the spaces

If you look at El Pimpi’s own website they mention, “Generations of personalities from the world of flamenco, politics and art have passed through our rooms: the Picasso family, Carmen Thyssen, La Repompa, Antonio Banderas, the Duchess of Alba, among many others”. Now, to be honest I’m not usually terribly impressed with celebrities. I’m the sort of person who, if I’m unfortunate enough to watch any part of “I’m a Celebrity, Get me Out of Here”, rarely recognises any of the participants. But this place just had a wonderfully vibrant, lively, and interesting buzz about it.

The photographs

For a solo traveller it’s really nice to find somewhere that, not only has good food, but also has lots going on and offers a chance to do some serious people watching. I wandered around for quite some time, taking photographs while dodging the waiters who were scurrying back and forth with trays above their heads. It was so busy I didn’t even attempt to get to the bar to have a drink but resolved to return that evening and see if I could squeeze in for a meal or even just some tapas at the bar.

When I went back to my hostel, which was only 2 minutes walk away, I looked for some information on line and found their website where I was able to read a little about the history of the restaurant and see the menus. I was relieved to see that the main courses average between €10 – €20. I was also impressed to read that they only work with farmers from the area and use fresh, local, seasonal, and in many cases, organic food.

That evening

So, I was really looking forward to returning that evening. When I arrived it was considerably quieter in the bar areas and a couple of the dining rooms were closed. Obviously the afternoons are the busier times but even so there was a queue for the restaurant. The queue, which is formed outside one of the doors was quite long so I decided to mix with the rich and famous (well, their photographs if nothing else) and have a glass of wine and some olives at the bar while waiting to see if it reduced at all. Bad mistake! Although I enjoyed my time at the bar, eavesdropping on other people’s conversations, when I returned to check out the queue it was even longer.

Me mixing with the rich and famous

You’ll know by now, if you have been reading my blog, that I don’t like standing in line, well it’s not just that I don’t like it, I can’t, I get vertigo if I stand still for too longer and my legs go numb. So, I headed off across the square and found a seat at a bar/cafe where I could keep an eye on the queue. Because I was feeling rather peckish by then I had a coffee and a dessert to fill in the time but I was determined I would make it in for a meal, it was the weekend of my 65th birthday and I deserved a treat.

Finally the queue got shorter

Eventually I arrived at the door and got a table. It was right beside some of the wine barrels and with a good view of fellow diners which is always interesting. After all that waiting I only had a main course, because I had already had my desert and coffee while I waited. I opted for the baked cod at €14.00 and I wasn’t disappointed, it was absolutely delicious and so fresh and well cooked, I really enjoyed it.

The table

After all that, I hope this hasn’t been a let down for you. It may have only been a main course but it was the journey that was fun. The atmosphere, the buzz, the anticipation, they are all as important as the food.

So, at last, I bring you my Baked Cod,

Drum roll please……….

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