The moment we descended the stone steps into the repurposed wine cellars where Maldonado was established, we were warmly greeted and immediately seated in the beautiful antechamber beneath Gozitan limestone arches and treated to freshly baked bread with parsley butter, along with a round of sharp, refreshing Aperol Spritz. Having visited the Ta'Mena estate earlier, we ordered a bottle of crisp local Chardonnay - totally divine in the sweltering evening, so much so we had two more bottles after the first. We enjoyed the wildlife photography on the brick walls, reminiscent of the rich hunting history of the islands. My partner had crispy sesame seeded falafel on a bed of Israeli salad - not sure what was Israeli about it but it tasted damn good. My friend had delicious beef carpaccio with Gozitan olive oil (loveliest damn oil you ever tasted and no mistake), and I had the single best souffle I've ever had, of roasted mushroom and cheese cream topped with walnuts (not cream cheese - cheese cream! Fantastic). For main, I had delightful freshly made tagliatelle with cherry tomatoes, asparagus and rope grown mussels - sublime. I did however get food envy as I tasted my friend's rabbit three ways - confit, roast legs and rabbit polpetti with fondant potato and a whole grain mustard cream - utterly delicious. The staff were attentive and gentle, there was nothing they wouldn't so for you. Complimentary limoncello followed in place of dessert, as we'd stiffed our mouths already.
The bill came to a very reasonable price for four starters, four mains, two bottles of wine, aperitif and digestifs. Cannot recommend highly enough - can't get off this island without going here!
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