THERE were no airs and graces for the former queen of Spain.
Pomp and circumstance was well out of the window, on a night out for Queen Sofia in Marbella this week.
On a rare visit to the Costa del Sol, the mother of King Felipe could have opted for one of four Michelin-starred restaurants, or a grand dining room of over half a dozen five star hotels.
Yet, she plumped for its far racier sister Puerto Banus, and an expat-owned Indian restaurant, Mumtaz.
The Olive Press can reveal that the Queen and her friends – including Princess Alia of Jordan and her sister Irene of Greece – descended on the upmarket joint after attending the recital of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino Orchestra and Choir at the Marbella Arena.
They were joined by Indian conductor Zubin Mehta, who had recommended the port-side restaurant, and legendary pianist/conductor Daniel Barenboim.
Queen Sofia, a great music lover, had travelled to Marbella to enjoy the open-air concert of her friend Mehta, who has been described as the best conductor in the world.
Mumtaz manager Juan Gimenez revealed that the Royal group arrived at 11:30 pm, minutes after the recital finished.
The dinner was hosted by billionaire philanthropist Yusuf and Farida Hamied and the restaurant closed for them, ensuring no photographers could take any pictures inside.
But, while the Queen seemed incredibly happy, the staff were surprised that she tried few dishes and nothing with meat.
“All her friends tried every dish, however she did not try any of the dishes that had meat, she just had lentils, potatoes with cauliflower and spinach,” Gimenez told the Olive Press.
However, she did at least have a few glasses of Vega Sicilia’s famous Valbuena wine – which is one of Spain’s top wines costing upwards of €135 a bottle.
“It is one of the best and most expensive wines that we offer in our restaurant” insisted Juan.
Moreover, Queen Sofia, 83, was really friendly with all the members of staff and was happy to pose in a few pictures with them.
“She was having an amazing time, smiling a lot and speaking with all of her friends and with her sister,”added the manager.
“She had the first course, a second course and a dessert but they did not have any gin and tonics,” said Juan Gimenez.
The restaurant was booked only two days before and the door of the restaurant was secured by police officers to protect the former Queen.
It was her last trip before travelling to Mallorca with King Felipe and Leticia, where she will spend the rest of the summer.
The restaurant is part of the Metro Group run by successful British-Indian expat businessman Mr Ram.
It also owns Jacks, Joys and the recently-opened Leone in the Port, as well as Alberts in Cabopino.