What better way to start the year in dining than to eat at SP’s #1 restaurant of the year. Yes, El Celler de can Roca. It was also very interesting to see how they have evolved from my first time eating there 4 years ago. At that time, they were #5.
Before you even enter the restaurant, you will fund yourself in awe of their front courtyard. Adding to the ambience is a suspended fire place, filling the air with the scent of campfire. All of this with the backdrop of an old Spanish home. On another side of the courtyard is their glass-walled cigar lounge. I think it’s a great way to sit around while waiting for the other people in your table to arrive. There’s always someone who’s late.
The courtyard really starts to set the mood for the evening.
Onwards to the food. As per my usual post, won’t put up every photo I took.
The bonsai olive tree. I remember this from 4 years ago as well. Just as delicious and I think a really clever way to serve an amuse. The hanging ornaments are olives, stuffed with anchovy and coated with a crisp sugary film.
After the olive tree, a progression of several snack courses follow.
“Around the world” – 5 snacks, each inspired from a different country – China, Mexico, Morocco, Korea and Peru.
My favourite of the snack courses. Truffled brioche. Only lightly baked as seen from the lack of carmelization. Inside was a creamy filling of truffles. This this was sublime.
First of the courses. A medley of lightly cooked vegetables on a thickened vegetable stock. The stock was gelatinous. I suspect a use of some hydrocolloid, or perhaps just reducing the broth and allowing the natural starches and pectins of the vegetables to thicken the stock.
White asparagus ice cream and truffles. The combination is a tried and true pairing, but this was a very novel preparation that just made me cock my head back and try to pick up my brains after having it blown to pieces. Plating was a whimsical play on cheese and truffles me thinks. Looks like a creamy bleu cheese.
Whole prawn. Pieces of the head cooked to a crisp, with the “head juices” reduced and is placed beneath the tail meat.
The dish was called Mandala. Main bits were a beautifully crisped lamb belly, and lamb sweetbreads. The white blossom at the top is an artichoke flower.
And here we have Jordi Roca’s candy apple.
It’s quite nice to see how they have moved forward. Though admittedly, the first time I was there is a vague memory – I was severely jet-lagged and drank a ton of wine. This time, I paced on the wine, and had plenty of rest on the plane. I wish I had taken a picture of the dining room because it was really beautiful, one that exceeds Michelin standards. The room was very modern with all the glass and contrasted with wooden planks on the ceiling. They’ve also got this really cool atrium filled with trees in the middle of the dining room.
And to continue the awesome start of the year, I’ll be dining at my favourite restaurant tomorrow – Alinea…for the 4th time!
More photos of El Celler de can Roca, during the daytime too! Courtesy of Renée Suen. http://www.flickr.com/photos/sifu_renka/sets/72157629562800789/