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Tickets | Barcelona | Jun ’14

31 Jan
  • Rating: 16/20

My meal at Tickets was chaos of seemingly endless variety, as dish after dish was served when I ordered almost the full menu at Tickets. With each of the dishes at modest price points, none of the dishes were extremely-labor intensive in terms of cooking (many of the ingredients had been prepared earlier) – for the dishes had to be quickly assembled. It seemed like popularized modernist cuisine – you do not expect fireworks since the dishes come fast and furious, and really cooking-labor-intensive dishes don’t make their appearance – but the modernist tapas was robustly flavorful. As a fine-dining place, this does not really translate. A rating of 16/20 is justified for the efficient assembly of cheerful, well-composed dishes – within the constraint of cooking very fast, a similar philosophy to L’Atelier Robuchon.

Once a chef sets himself down an unknown path and creates according to his own perception, free as far as possible from predefined rules and breaking through the limitations of stereotypical tastes, however sincere such a chef might consider himself to be, there is always a risk that the result may be extremely personal and subjective, with each individual dish somewhat incomplete, a piece of the larger puzzle of his menu, with less emphasis on the “realism” of ingredients, employing rather a dualistic punning forms (infusions, textures, concentrated tastes detached from their hosts’ bodies, etc.). That is to say that conventional criteria may not be applicable to the “abstractionism” of Adria, whose work seems to be more concerned with how it is carried out as a whole meal than what it is about as an individual dish, contrary to Pacaud, whose classicism still so much revolves around individual ingredients and the aspect of taste in individual dishes. It seems that these two cuisines serve different purposes the same way as comparing Picasso to Velazquez will not yield a meaningful verdict.

What concerns me, however, after reading vmilor’s thoughts, is whether Adria manages to establish some degree of formalism in his cuisine, which is essential for codifying a new trend in any artistic movement (e.g. realistic flesh and blood in the works of Titian or Rubens; the degree of formalism was high in Egyptian paintings with the same superimposition of full and profile views echoed in the duality of Braque and Picasso later in time, or in the conversion of intangible light into solid paint in Impressionism, etc.). The same academic, formal, synthetic and even abstract (deconstructionism) approaches apply to haute cuisine as well. The question is whether Adria puts in enough effort to formalize his cuisine, therefore creating a definitive style perhaps not out of individual dishes, as he did earlier in his career with hot and cold pea soup, tagliatelle a la carbonara etc., but perhaps with entire meals (which seems more characteristic of his current strategy), or flees a subject matter before exploring its potential, creating a brand-new sand-castle every year, washed out with each tide, which, may still be advantageous from the technical perspective for other chefs, but irrelevant for the ultimate judges: his diners. In that case, the next question would be whether Adria’s future lies in the laboratory, not in the dining room. Otherwise, he may be creating a new form in which the entity is not a dish or even a meal, but a sequence of meals.

Thus, as vmilor said, I won’t be able to answer these questions with only one meal, and following this chef’s progression may not be practical, but I’ll keep an open mind. – lxt

I won’t resist one el Bulli comparison: A meal at Tickets preserves a similar spirit in that the entire meal was an unstructured, sprawling octopus of flavor combinations – several good, some excellent. None of the dishes felt really complete, instead it seemed each dish was showcasing an effect (the hollow airbaguette) or a particularly harmonious combination (asparagus with almond milk). And so there were no true masterpieces in the meal – part of it is down to the lack of really labor intensive cooking, but part of it is also down to the style of a meal – Tickets, as it seems with el Bulli, prefers to dazzle with a long series of one-effect dishes as opposed to a few really composed ones.


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  • Cacahuete mimético [false peanuts] (4/5)

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  • La pizza de Tickets [Ticket’s pizza] (4/5)

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  • Cóctel sólido de sandia impregnado en sangria [Solid cocktail with watermelon infused in sangria]
    • Watermelon infused with sangria, similar to how 41 degrees infused theirs with beetroot
    • Bitter liqueur taste – reminiscent of oyster

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  • Tempura de pistachios [tempura pistachios]

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  • Oil texture, anchovies, potato obulato (4.25/5)

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  • Liquid olive + other aromatic herb (4.5/5)
    • More full-bodied, meatier

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  • Rubia gallega airbaguette (5/5)
    • Umami itself, savory and glistening fat. Full-bodied.

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  • Queso manxego; espumosos dentro de mini airbags con caviar de aceite de avellana (4.25/5)

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  • Iberico Joselito airbaguette (4.75/5)
    • More marbling than Iberico bellota
    • It had a darker salty sweet taste than Rubia gallega

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  • White asparagus, cold almond milk, pumpkin seed oil caviar (4.75/5)
    • Surprisingly good. Smooth almond milk worked with white asparagus – sweetness synergistic. Pumpkin seed sweetness harmonized with almond milk

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  • Macaroni made from basil water [no flour]; parmesan reggiano sauce, pinenuts (4.75/5)


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  • Nori cone, tuna, grannysmith apple cubes, flying fish roe, shichimi togarashi  (4/5)
    • Reminiscent of salmon cornets at The French Laundry/Per Se

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  • Razor clam, tomato + red bean sauce, anchovies + basil (4/5)

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  • (1)Oyster + red wine vinegar + tarragon + olive oil “caviar”; (2) Mojito oyster
    • Oyster + Mojito: Fizzing and cold (4.75/5)
    • Other was cold and delicious (4.75/5)

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  • Octopus + kimchi (4/5)
    • Kimchi had the soft texture of canned pineapple
    • Complimentary

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  • Baby squid with its ink + picada (Catalan sauce: almond, garlic, parsley, saffron)

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  • Black rice; with calamari and beansprouts as the rice (3.75/5)
    • Creamy

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  • Coffee powder on prawn, sauce of (black tea, soy sauce) (4/5)
    • Around here, Albert Adria made his daily rounds and I caught a glimpse of him

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  • “King oyster mushrooms” spaghetti with porcini pil pil sauce (3.75/5)
    • Parmesan

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  • “el manteca” jowl, sandwich bread (4.25/5)
    • Pork chin, mozzarella, munster

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  • Pork ribs in Canary islands typical sauce (4/5)

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  • Green beans with potatoes and fermented red bean sauce

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  • Tickets’ cone, lime ice cream, lemon cream and meringue (4.5/5)

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  • Juniper strawberry with juniper cream (3.75/5)

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  • Sweet maki, lime marshmallow, mango and nori gelatin (4.25/5)

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ABaC | Barcelona | Jun ’14 | “maximalism”

16 Nov
  • Rating: 18/20
  • Address: Avinguda del Tibidabo, 1, 08022 Barcelona, Spain
  • Phone:+34 933 19 66 00
  • Price per pax: ~€190 ($238 at 1 EUR = 1.25 USD)
  • Value: 3/5
  • Dining time: 150 minutes
  • Chef: Jordi Cruz [ex: Cercs Estany Clar (Barcelona), L’Angle de Sant Fruitós de Bages (Barcelona)]
  • Style: Modernist Catalan
  • Michelin Stars: 2

2014-06-20 12.29.56

There are for me two pertinent points about Jordi Cruz’s cuisine. Firstly, he does something memorable with top quality Catalan ingredients. As with the brilliant one-ingredient kokotxas dish at Mugaritz, I found the dish Chef Jordi Cruz made of the Catalan leek calçot absolutely stunning; and the lorito (pearly razorfish) very good. As a food tourist, I dislike restaurants which carry no signature of the region around them, as if they were trying to escape their surroundings, as if they were exiles in their own land. A really good restaurant should push the boundaries of what can be done with local ingredients. Perhaps that is why on this Spanish trip, I liked Mugaritz, Azurmendi, and ABaC more than Arzak and Akelarre. In the midst of modernist anarchy (the rule it seems in Spanish 2*’s and 3*’s) one needs these dishes to remind oneself that one actually is in Spain.

Secondly, he is of that modernist-style of ingredient assemblage, which both rebels against the nouvelle-cuisine idea of purity of taste, and as an extension of that culinary philosophy, a loose fluid plating style. “Nothing is true and everything is permitted”, at least when choosing ingredients for a dish. Chefs experiment, and diners pay for the privilege of trying the most successful of their experiments. Here at ABaC I encountered a cosmopolitan bunch – Momofuku Ko’s shaved foie, the intense savory candy of anago sauce etc. Among the novel compositions, a two part foie dish (foie with mole ice cream, foccaccia + pigeon tea + shaved foie) and a flavorful onion soup paired with spherified gruyere dumplings, were the most successful. Chef Jordi Cruz is one of the most talented chefs in this experimental style. His instincts tend toward bold flavors (there were no quiet meditative dishes, unlike Mugaritz), but the compositional instinct is true. My impression of ABaC is of a meal super-saturated with taste and colour -maximal maximalism.

If anything, that is the one thing that I feel could be improved at ABaC. My impression is that Chef Jordi is a flavor maximalist, with the flavor profile tuned to 11 on all dishes. Chef Jordi could yet vary the intensity of flavor in his cooking and deliver a few quieter dishes, in order to deliver a meal that is more than the sum of his flavorful hits, and has its own logical development. The art of listening to a full album may be a forgotten one in these days of Spotify, but the truth that a great album is never just an album of hits continues to apply. But it is a minor point. Overall, ABaC provides a very strong two-star standard meal.


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  • Nitro bloody mary (4.25/5)
    • vodka, tomato juice, salt, pepper, mixed with liquid nitrogen to form a granite
    • paired with slices of cherry and begonia flower petals
    • a good savory start to the meal

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  • the dark bread was crunchy and delicious (5/5) but the olive brioche was a bit cardboard-y (3.5/5), with some flour-y tastes inside

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  • Foie gras foccacia and foie gras butter with sweet corn crumb and mole ice cream (5/5)
    • A dish in two parts. First, a crunchy foccaccia slice with shaved frozen foie gras, with pigeon tea. (5/5) This was a fantastic adaptation of the Momofuku Ko technique of prepping foie. The warm pigeon tea, a consomme, helped to cut the richness of the foie even further. (The shaving already helps by introducing a aerated, fluffy texture to the foie)
    • Second, a foie butter, with corn powder and Mexican mole ice cream (5/5). I remember being hugely impressed by the mole ice cream.

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  • Frozen “Gazpacho” strawberries, tomatoes, basil and anchovies (4.25/5)
    • Spherified tomato water with liqueur

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  • Our Chinese bread, fried brioche, roasted eel, smoked aioli and Japanese mustard (4.25/5)
    • it tasted like its description – a salty anago (salt-water eel) burger.
    • full of intense sweet-salty flavor, the fried brioche and aioli was a guilty pleasure.

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  • Young leeks roasted with coconut ice cream (5/5)
    • genius. barbecued calçots, a kind of Catalan sweet leek, was well paired with balsamic vinegar and coconut ice cream. it seems so simple, but the combination of sweet sourness from the balsamic vinegar, richness from the coconut ice cream really highlighted the mild sweetness of the calçots, which had none of the pungency of leek. simplicity itself, and an apparent variation on the Catalan tradition of calçotada (calçot BBQ)
    • http://www.culinarybackstreets.com/barcelona/2013/calcots/

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  • “Parmesan gnocchi” and morels, acidulated water of mushrooms, bergamot and olive oil (4.25/5)
    • liquid parmesan gnocchi, raw champignon “button” mushrooms, fried girolle/chanterelle mushrooms, mushroom consomme
    • BTW, what’s with menus listing girolles as morels? it’s a common mistranslation.

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  • Oyster with beef, baby radishes and sake (4/5)
    • Gillardeau oyster, veal soup jelly, radish, veal tendon. the veal tendon and Gillardeau oyster were similar in texture

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  • Squid treated as a risotto with hydrated tigernuts and caviar (4/5)
    • Tiger nuts, sweet and crunchy as a chestbut, with rosewater and Iranian caviar. A sweet nut cream for the risotto

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  • Onion soup reminiscence, cured egg yolk, onion water, butter bread and gruyere cheese (4.75/5)
    • Gruyere dumplings, 6 in a row, around a yolk, in an onion soup. Great taste, the burst of mild-flavored cheese coating the mouth when I bit into one of those gruyere dumplings was fantastic

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  • Smoked steak tartare, seasoned beef, cooked egg yolk and a veil of mustard with fine herbs (3.5/5)

 

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  • Palamós prawn with miso aubergine and scorched aubergine infusion (4.25/5)
    • aubergine water, Palamós prawn a la plancha. a sweet combination
    • the miso-aubergine water tasted of a pleasant savoriness, like soy sauce

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  • Marinated Iberian pork with foie gras and barbecued Potatoes (4.5/5)
    • The filet mignon cut of Iberico pork, foie (with spongy texture) with a good sear, charcoal-ed bread; with rice foam. A coming together of very flavorful ingredients, the iberico had a profound flavor. This was a pleasing duet of dishes, the clean taste of white fish segueing into the rich tastes of iberico pork, dabbed with some more foie (a favorite ingredient of the chef). I came to appreciate here two features of Chef Jordi Cruz’s cuisine:
      • Firstly, his cuisine is not a sauce-driven one. Rather, it is driven by the high quality Spanish and Catalan ingredients available to him. Calçots, iberico pork, Lorito, Palamós prawns are clearly meant to drive their respective dishes.
      • Secondly, his style of cooking is a series of compositions that takes those ingredients as starting points; no ingredient is too sacred to be blended into a pop-culture mixer. Even with top-quality ingredients, he does not hesitate to pair them with bold flavors. Not for this chef the nouvelle-cuisine emphasis on how the ingredient tastes. He does not hesitate to put anago into a fried Chinese bun, or Gillardeau oyster with veal soup. When it succeeds, the result is genius – such as the calçots with balsamic vinegar and coconut ice cream. It is a style of cooking with no reference points except the Chef’s imagination. It must be what Arzak once was.

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  • Yuzu & Meringue cupcake (4.25/5)
    • yuzu sorbet, strawberry meringue cupcake in rice paper (obulato?)

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  • Chocolate, summer truffle, and “Tuber Albidum Pico” with yoghurt, flower honey, rosemary flowers and nuts (4/5)
    • I could not detect the truffle – but vanilla cream, white chocolate, yuzu cream was generally pleasant

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  • A dried-flower glass, crunchy yoghurt, flower honey and violet icecream. (4.5/5)
    • Flower paper, violet icecream, blueberry, yoghurt. The violet ice cream had a most brilliant and unearthly blue colour.

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  • Mignardises
    • Strawberry lipstick; yuzu macaron, liquid truffle (pistachio liqueur), tangerine jelly…

2014-06-20 16.16.06

41° (“41 Degrees” / “41 Grados”) | Barcelona | Jun ’14 | “globetrotting”

11 Oct
  • Rating: 17.5/20
  • Address: Avinguda del Paral-lel, 164, 08015 Barcelona
  • Phone:+34 696 592 571
  • Price per pax: ~€200 ($270 at 1 EUR = 1.35 USD)
  • Value: 2.5/5
  • Dining time: 190 minutes
  • Chef: Oliver Peña
  • Style: Cosmopolitan
  • Michelin Stars: 1

2014-06-17 19.23.24

* 41 Degrees has closed, the concept is to be reworked. Therefore the following review of 41 Degrees circa June 2014 will primarily be of historical interest.

We have had many conversations where he discussed upcoming projects and plans for the future but things are fluid as he constantly tweaks and changes his plans. Pakta, his Peruvian- Japanese restaurant, and Tickets and 41° were not enough and then came Bodega 1900 and he closed 41° in August to announce Enigma to open in 2015. [Source: http://chefgeeta.wordpress.com/2014/09/29/albert-adria-fears-dreams/]

Other write-ups:

I liked my dinner at 41 Degrees very much. The food is technically well-executed, the service was impeccable, and it was a truly memorable experience overall to sit in that vaguely cosmic looking cocktail bar (with marvellous lighting for food photos) and be transported around Vietnam, Peru, Japan, Scandinavia, and back to Catalonia, in the course of 41 little bites. Praise due where praise is due. I think the key to understanding 41 Degrees is that the Experience is over and beyond any one dish. The Experience is a globe-trotting affair, that can drop you anywhere in the world with the next dish, from Thailand to France.


Today, I would like to address myself to a question of pure form: how much did I, as a consumer, enjoy the 40 or so dishes (independently of the Experience), in the extreme long-form, the reductio of the tasting-menu? The answer: Quite a bit, but not as much as shorter 5-20 course menus.

Micro-dishes. You dine on small dishes, one or two-bite wonders, at 41 Degrees. With such small dishes, one cannot know whether one likes it or not. The first bite reveals the 2-3 principal ingredients and textures, and if you are lucky enough to have a second, you pick up more nuance. But once it is gone, another comes to take its place. The advantage is clear: one can sample a broad array of the kitchen’s dishes and ability in a single meal.

But with it comes two problems with this style of serving:

(A) The Diner’s Memory. Before reading the menu again, 4 months on, I remembered less than a quarter of the 40 or so courses that were served, and textures and tastes bled into each other. I only remembered feeling ‘genial’ towards most of the food.

(B) 41 Great Dishes?. A second problem is the ability of the kitchen to come up with 41 great dishes. Of the 41 dishes, how many of them are mind-blowing, and how many of them were just good? I would say that almost all the dishes were just good (nothing really blowing me away – the airbaguette coming the closest). The good dishes seemed to be permutations of good ingredients, and good technique, with an unnecessary presentation gimmick. For example, take the 13th dish “Fideos with Enoki”. It had good taste, particularly in having a strongly flavored pork rib broth, spherified. One might praise the chef on capturing the strong taste of pork ribs in the cone. But is that mimesis of the real thing enough? Does it significantly better a pork rib? No, it is just a repermutation of the same idea. I rated it a 4/5, because it was enjoyable – by technical standards it was well executed, as an idea, vaguely interesting but not something that would stick in the memory.

(C) The Food serves the Experience And yet I would say while these two problems (subjective memory, and objective merit) are encouraged by the form of a 40-50 course tasting menu, part of the problem is the specific Experience of 41 Degrees that brings you around the world. Evoking so many different regions (Peru’s ceviches and pisco sours, Scandinavian carrots, French steak frites, Vietnamese banh mi, Chinese Peking duck) generally means that the food serves the experience – a global journey hitting multiple regional memories. The food was not the end in itself, but the entire experience was. To this amateur quizzer,  being able to  recognise after a moment or two – dishes I have encountered on my travels (e.g. ceviche, steak frites, fusion nigiri, Catalan prawns) was a meeting of two forms of pleasure – gustatory and quizzical.

The search for avant garde regional food at 41 Degrees makes me think of the term “Minimum Viable Product”,  very popular in Silicon Valley after the publication of Eric Ries’s book the Lean Startup in 2011 (but now probably on the wane, the flavor of the year being Peter Thiel and “definite optimism”). Many people (mis)understand “Minimum” to mean “throw shit on a wall and see what sticks”, but in the book, “Minimum” is left to the discretion of the market it is addressing. 41 Degrees addresses itself to a foodie crowd aware of its el Bulli heritage, and the “Minimum” standard of food is some well-executed avant-garde stuff. The restaurant itself focuses on a globetrotting Experience, and so in the quest for 41 interesting avant-garde regional dishes, many of the dishes are not mindblowing – but permutations of what exist.

The Experience however is something that I have not felt at any other restaurant, something very unique – a greatest hits compilation of culinary experiences that will appeal to the cosmopolitan foodie who is equally at home in Tokyo or in New York. Despite seeming critical here, I really enjoyed my overall meal there. I had planned on returning when in Barcelona again, but with its shuttering, I will visit some of the other Adria places next time instead.


Cocktails, Fruits, and Flowers

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  • 1 Spring Cocktail (4/5)
    • “Spring elixir” – caramelized pine bus, gin berry  paste, rose marmalade syrup, French white vermouth, Lilet Blanc
    • 41 Degrees started out as a cocktail bar. so it was fitting our meal started out with cocktail.

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  • 2 Lime Leaf and Sage Flower (3.5/5)
    • kaffir lime

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  • 3 Infused Pine Flower (3.25/5)
    • Blood orange gel

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  • 4 Licorice Cocoon and Strawberry Rose (3.75/5)
    • Rose strawberry amaretto

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  • 5 Humming Bird (4/5)
    • Milk /carrot/ orange/ gin/ shiso

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  • 6 Black Sesame Pearl (4/5)

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  • 7 Infused Watermelon
    • Infused beetroot licorice, yuzu flavors. Watermelon sweetness enhanced by beetroot’s, and yuzu gave a nice scent

East Asia

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  • 8 Buhto
    • Another cocktail in guise of a tea ceremony (though I can find no Google references to Buhto)
    • Sake/Sochu/cardamom/lemonquat. Shisha scent underneath those cups

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  • 9 Spicy Corn Tentacles (4.75/5)
    • Rice kimchi quinoa/ no octopus involved. Ingredient mimickry. Highly tasty

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  • 10 Tuna Millefeuille (4.75/5)
    • Nori, sushi rice, avocado, wasabi, tuna, millefeuille effect from puffed rice and crisp nori
    • Precise
    • This East Asian sequence was highly enjoyable. (5/5)

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  • 11 Oyster with Tiger Nut Milk (4.5/5)
    • Lemonquat (hybrid between lemon and kumquat)/ poached tigernut milk/ oyster seagrapes.
    • Lemon scent/pleasant globules of walled salinity/milky background

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  • 12 Aubergine with Caviar (4.5/5)
    • Osetra caviar, eggplant chip, hazelnut cream, spicy sesame olive oil.
    • I especially liked the eggplant chip, thin enough to be crisp. thick enough to have secondary texture.

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  • 13 Fideos with Enoki (4/5)
    • Little cone, spherification pork rib jus/ enoki julienned/ wild garlic flower
    • Good pork rib taste.

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  • 14 Parmesan and Porcini Forest Floor Pistachio and Berries
    • In multiple parts: ravellos -coconut ferrero rochers with parmesan cheese were all right (3.25/5)
    • Berries caramelized with wasabi (palate cleanser – 4/5)
    • Porcini mushroom leaves (3.75/5)
    • Pistachio, honey of pistachio – there was no nut, just a pistachio-shaped sculpted ganache (4.25/5)
    • Red currant with lemon orange powder (3.75/5)

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  • 15 Lily Flower with Romescu (3/5)

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  • 16 “Rubia Gallega” Airbaguette (4.5/5)
    • The only el Bulli era dish that made an appearance (from the 2003 season), bread, with Rubia Gallega cow “ham” – unctuouous and full-bodied, the satisfying taste of great ham
    • The “baguette” was all crust, and enjoined the best of bread with one of the best hams.

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  • 18 Miso Asparagus (3/5)
    • Braised white asparagus, black garlic, white miso + sesame oil
    • The sauce was like drinking the sesame oil used for stir frying bok choy. Intense

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  • 19 White Asparagus Bone (3.5/5)
    • Bone marrow with pork rib jus, boiled w asparagus, suckling pork rib sauce.
    • Neither white asparagus dish was very good.

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  • 20 Chicken and Crayfish (3.75/5)
    • “Surf and turf” fried chicken skin and crayfish, crayfish consomme jelly.
    • Crayfish was of unexciting quality.

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  • 21 Suquet (4.75/5)
    • Any dish graced with Catalonian prawns can simply go on cruise control – because these prawns are simply the best in the world. Here in a shell, there  was a suquet soup, with prawns from Maresme (2/3 of the way between Barcelona and Sant Pau restuarant in Sant Pol de Mar).
    • The prawn was softer than the Palamos prawns at Etxebarri – but was succulently sweet. Bewitching quality.
    • http://www.spain-recipes.com/suquet.html

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  • 22 Nordic Toast
    • Baby carrot, beetroot gel, horseradish, sour cream, (3.5/5)
    • beef carpaccio, vegetables, sour cream, vinegar powder (4/5)
    • Inappropriate comparison: The vinegar, sour cream tasted like a deconstruction of the Big Mac special sauce, and the beef carpaccio lended it a further Big Mac-ish quality.

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  • 23 Nitro Bloody and Agave Amber
    • Bloody Mary Sorbet: tomato, pineapple coffee.(4.25/5)
    • Bloody , mezcal. (chipito and white coffee) (4.75/5)

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  • 24 Prawns “Aguachile” (4/5)
    • Ceviche/chilli, peppercorn. Lemon/lime/chilli, avocado
    • The “tiger’s milk” of ceviche, dominated, strong sour tastes. I don’t really like that sharp kick. My favorite ceviche dishes (see my write-up of Maido in Lima) temper this sharp kick (e.g., by liquid nitrogen)

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  • 25 Nigiri Nikkei (4/5)
    • Smoked red mullet, tapioca, fried corn, dried lemon with stuffed kumquat
    • Woody smokiness

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  • 26 Ceviche Norteño/ Atahualpa 3.0
    • White seabass, yellow aguachile/ crispy yucca chip/sweet potato mash/ choclo corn (4.25/5)
    • Pisco sour, pineapple juice, apple liqueur, purple corn (4.75/5)

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  • 27 Duck Bagel (3.75/5)
    • Brioche Bagel w sesame seeds, peking duck, pickled gennel, cucumber

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  • 28 French Bite (4.25/5)
    • Meat and potatoes, souffle potato with bearnaise inside, iberian pork belly, macerated black trumpets, charcoal oil, sweet wine reduction
    • A ha! What was puzzling before reveals itself as Steak Frites! A clever dish, the reference of a French Bite only made sense when I crunched into the potato souffle, releasing the bearnaise.

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  • 29 Vietnamese Roll of Squid (3.75/5)
    • Pepper, shiso, rice, squid with sauteed garlic chilli/peanut/ugly grapefruit
    • Dip: lime juice, thai chilli, fish soup

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  • 30 Vietnamese Tea (4.25/5)
    • Shitake tea – salty

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  • 31 Banh Mi Cookie
    • Foie

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  • 32 Redcurrant Meringue and Sweet Potato (3.75/5)
    • Mustard cream (reminiscent of the signature beetroot meringue with horseradish cream starter at the Fat Duck ***)
    • Sweet potato cooked in quicklime to give it a skin, mashy inside, Kumquat jelly and chilli oil outside

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  • 33 Thaiquiri/Coconut Mató (4.5/5)
    • Texture of coconut cream
    • Honey: Rum daiquiri, lemongrass, pineapple, honey

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  • 34 Soy-Temaki (4/5)
    • Sweet temako, black quinoa, soy sauce ice cream, lime zest

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  • 35 Mango Dried Peach (4/5)
    • A large amount of liquid mango with an impressively robust skin

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  • 36 Fresisuisse (4.25/5)
    • Yoghurt biscuit, pleasant strawberry flavor

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  • 37 Dragon egg/ Chai Lassi
    • Baby dragon eggs – orange zest/cold/meringue (4.5/5)
    • Lassi- chai mango, curry, almonds, yoghurt powder, curry powder (4.25/5),

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  • 38 Classic Lemon Pie Cup Cake (4.25/5)

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  • 39 Quico Rocher (4.25/5)

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  • 40. 41 Grados Tronch (4/5)
    • Gingerbread brownie/chocolate /matcha green tea soil

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Tapas 24 | Barcelona | Jun ’14

11 Jul
  • Overall Rating: 4/5
  • Address: Carrer de la Diputació, 269, 08007 Barcelona, Spain
  • Phone: +34 934 88 09 77
  • Price: €90 (all-in) for 3 pax

AN ASIDE: RANKING CASUAL RESTAURANTS

*After a lot of thought, it seems to me that casual restaurants tend to be shortchanged by being ranked on the same scale as fine-dining restaurants. It would be unfair to them, to compare them against a brigade of chefs and staff, dedicated to crafting the edible works of art.

Therefore I have decided to rank casual restaurants on a different scale from formal restaurants. They will be ranked out of 5, and the details can be found here: (https://kennethtiongeats.wordpress.com/ratings/). This will be my first casual place review, using the new ranking system.


TAPAS 24 in Barcelona is often crowded with tourists, especially after the hours of 7.30pm (it features in Japanese guidebooks), and is considered one of the city’s better tapas restaurants (along with El Quim de Boqueria, and Cal Pep). I was recommended this place by at least two people who’ve lived in Barcelona, independently of each other. It is conveniently located on the Passeig de Gracia, near the two Gaudi attractions in the center of town. We ordered the following:

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1. Tapa d’Or (Fresh crushed tomato with pepper, Jerez vinegar, salt maldon, and EVOO) (3.5/5)

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2. Croqueta de Pollastres Rostit (Roasted Chicken Croquette) (4.5/5)

Moist strips of chicken within, well marinated and very tasty.

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3. “Boquerones al Limón” (Fried anchovies marinated with lemon) (4.25/5)

Fresh, and a wonderful beer snack. Subtle zesting with lemon.

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4. Patatas Bravas (3.75/5)

Nice crisp initially, but quickly got soggy from the heavy sauce. Sauce wasn’t particularly inspired, have tried better bravas (at Flan y Ajo in Providence (!))

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5. Tacos de Cochinita Pibil (4/5)

A slow roasted pork dish. This had good warm tacos – rough in texture, and at least with some semblance of corn flavor. Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cochinita_pibil

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6. Gambas a la Planxa (4.75/5)

The best dish we tried here. Crisp, the legs were easily edible and crunched off like so many salty crisps. The heads were delectable. I would go on to have great prawns at Etxebarri, 41 Degrees, and ABaC, but these were fantastic, no frills.

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7. Sonsos (4/5)

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8. A rice stew with artichokes, sea-bass and rice. (3.25/5)

This had alright flavor, if a bit salty. But the serving was meagre, and the seabass texture could barely be  discerned.

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