IT is hard to believe that Steven Saunders and his wife Michele only opened their spectacular restaurant The Little Geranium in La Cala de Mijas just 18 months ago and already not only is it the talk of the Costa del Sol, but the speed of its success has even caught this happy couple by surprise. “What we want,” said Steven “is for people to visit our friendly small restaurant to enjoy the food rather than just because it is trendy or the place to be.
We hope that as they enter, they will feel that they are in our home rather than in a business and that each customer feels special and part of the family for the few hours that they are with us. Steven has done it and been there, had his own Michelin star and three Rosette fine dining restaurants in the UK and was one of the first of the new breed of celebrity chefs, appearing on TV and producing a number of top-selling cook books (more than 800,000 copies sold) as well as being one of just 30 Master chef Fellows throughout the world.
Michele sums up the philosophy behind the Little Geranium as “Fine dining, but not too fine. We like it to be a little casual and accessible and not too snooty but still very professional, creative and we also include a few of Steven’s signature dishes from some of his cookery books.” Some restaurants offer privileged guests the opportunity to dine at the ‘chef’s table’ inside the kitchen, but this restaurant wants every guest to feel as if they are sitting at such a special table and every evening not only does Steven prepare each main dish, he will visit each table and give some background to the food being served.
As the restaurant goes from strength to strength, so the couple are always looking for more ways to improve the dining experience and to make themselves more accessible, even though they are constantly busy, but are aiming to be the most popular restaurant on the Costa del Sol. This Christmas they will be offering gift card vouchers at various prices, proposing a tasting menu with wine pairing experience for lunch or dinner.
Whilst Steven is in charge of the kitchen, Michele is creating some special Christmas cocktails including the Red Queen from Alice and Wonderland, Santa Claus-Mopolitan, made with vodka and cranberries amongst other things and Christmas bubbles, made with vodka, blackberry and lavender topped with cava. Exclusively for December, Steven will be coming into the restaurant at lunch time to prepare a special Christmas lunch tasting menu. Commenting on this, he said “I usually depend on my well-established team headed by the ever smiling Albert to cook the tapas-style lunch but as it’s a festive time of year I want to push the Xmas boat out and am offering a special menu of creative dishes which I will prepare myself plus of course I will be back to the restaurant in the evening. Places are booking fast so do call us for a reservation!”
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and because the couple have noticed that some of their lunch time dishes are appearing in other restaurants, he has created a new lunch time Tapas menu starting early December Every month the A la Carte menu is changed and for December (which runs from Tuesday November 29), this will have a festive theme with some very interesting and mouth-watering twists.
By way of another new innovation, the restaurant is able to accept party bookings for up to 26 people seated at one table and for wedding anniversaries and other special events can take up to 50 people if the terrace is included. There is quite a collection of wines, many from Malaga and December sees some from Mijas Pueblo, plus organic wines all presented in exquisite Riedel glasses from Austria. Michele manages the front of house team and is delighted that the team of six waiting staff which is a lot for such a small establishment have risen to the challenge and guests regularly comment on the perfect combination of great food and service.
Service is important to the couple and Steven said “I have spent 40 years of my life in the hospitality business and I’ve seen it all. It’s not rocket science but many restaurants focus too much on the food and not the service or the other way around. The two go hand in hand and are as equally as important.” “None of our clients are table numbers. We know all of their names and many on a first name basis.
We look forward always to welcoming them back to The Little Geranium.” With an amazing amount of passion and experience Steven and Michele have very quickly become local celebrities and their recent wedding day was featured on Spanish TV news. Everybody seems to want to go to the LG and those that have been, want to go back! Like all good ladies, Michele has the last word saying “We are very much looking forward to a busy 2017 and we wish all our clients who have been most loyal to us, a very happy Christmas and New Year!”