A “modern grill” with the essence of who carries it in his blood, the Argentine Mauricio Giovanini, with a Michelin star in Messina (Marbella, Malaga), is what Bar de Fuegos proposes, which opens this Monday in Madrid and that combines with the new season of its Latin bistro in Ibiza.
“He had been wanting to grill for years”, acknowledges in an interview with Efe this Cordovan who arrived in Marbella in 2002 – “from there they don’t even move me with sticks”, he asserts – not fleeing from the “corralito” but attracted Spanish gastronomic revolution and creators like Adrià, Subijana, Arzak and Berasategui; although his idols are not culinary, but sports: Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer.
In less than a year he had opened with his wife, Pía Ninci as head of the room, Messina, with a Michelin star since 2016, whose name honors his maternal grandparents through the Sicilian city where they were born.
In that restaurant he offers “super-free” cuisine because he hates “ties and fashions.” “That has given us a personality, our style, with which I want to be identified over time,” he says.
An expert in the management of essential vegetable juices, in Messina he proposes dishes such as sabayon soup with onion and black beans, crayfish with its emulsion, clams and “foie”; “breast” of cured duck, chili cream and poultry broth; grilled red mullet with vegetables and citrus juice, and roasted red apple ice cream, borracho and odorous sponge cake.
With the time restrictions due to the pandemic in Andalusia, he has had to “win over the customers” to make them go to meals due to the impossibility of giving dinners; now combine both schedules. “We have had a bad time, but we are a family business and, with many adjustments, we have sustained ourselves. We have improved a lot in management.”
Homemade barbecue, from the “thousands” prepared with his father to which he now cooks for family and friends, a regular customer of the Argentinean Marbella steakhouses, now he takes the professional step in the Madrid neighborhood of Chueca with Bar de Fuegos.
He speaks in front of his impressive grill, in view of a clientele who can see that “everything can be done on it: salads, sandwiches, pizzas, meats, vegetables and desserts”.
It is not an Argentine steakhouse, but “a very advanced grill, different from what there is”, with “the modernity that Madrid gives.” In its menu, starters such as grilled “nems” with prawns and hot sauce or roasted cauliflower with spices, “kimchee” cream and sour cream; salads whose ingredients have gone through the embers, and, of course, meats such as rump steak, Argentine high loin or Iberian feather and prey, as well as fish such as sea bass and tuna.
The sandwiches, with bread made by them, are also cooked on the grill, such as beef with sweet onion, chimichurri and dried tomato; the same as hamburgers, pizzas and even desserts, such as banana with spiced ricotta dulce de leche or pineapple with lime soda and pisco.
All this cooked with oak wood, which Giovanini uses in his home grills, and with an “impressive smoke extraction system that guarantees zero odors”.
He acknowledges that it is a technique that is “very fashionable”, perhaps due to television influence – “only in the Netflix catalog there are several programs dedicated to the grill”, he remembers-, perhaps because “there is a certain tiredness of dishes with a lot of detail and a lot of aesthetics, and this is more rustic. “
Giovanini has just returned from Ibiza, where he has inaugurated the third season of Hayaca on the roof of the Amàre hotel. It is his Latin American restaurant, which also has a headquarters in Marbella that will not open this year because the hotel is not operational.
His snacks, accompanied by cocktails from his compatriot Diego Cabrera (Salmon Guru, Madrid), travel through Latin America in the form of tacos, empanadas, a Cuban sandwich, encocado fish and some cuts of meat.
“This summer in Ibiza will be that of beach clubs, bars and restaurants and not so much discos,” he predicts.