Saturday, 18 February 2012

Tickets.... Oh how I wish I had gone to El Bulli

So was in Barcelona this week. Had to go there for work and well as a bonus I was able to go to have dinner at Tickets Albert Adria´s ¨Tapas¨ restaurant... http://ticketsbar.es/  I use ¨tapas¨ as this is not the typical tapas place that you can find in Spain... or better still in the world. First thing you must know is that its a RESERVATIONS only restaurant, so you have to go with a reservation... second you can only reserve online... so get online... third there is limited places and you can only reserve 3 months ahead... therefore the calendar online is a rolling 90 day calendar and availability is normally only available on day 90 at midnight... so stay up and book ASAP... aside from that welcome to a unique experience!!!!!


First no, I did not make a mistake and was standing in front of a ticketing booth to go to the theatre... although at 7pm  in Spain that is probably what people were thinking and not that I was going to have dinner... welcome to Tickets

Not your typical restaurant window...


So lets start, one of the most ground breaking techniques that El Bulli has given us in the last 5 years... spherifications... so olives anyone? The one on the right is made with gordal olives and the one on the left with verdial olives... the intense flavor of both olives came through from the lovely liquid centre...

Pescadito frito: Fried fish... crispy cod with powdered nori... they make a paste with the cod, dry the paste and then fry them... like eating crispy kropek but flavored with cod... light and delicate and like kropek addictive 

Spectacular and unique fatty tuna belly Toro with iberico ham fat, pine nuts and sea salt they serve it with a homemade bread stick to help contrast the flavors... Now I am probably, like a lot of people, a great fan of Toro and this was spectacular... not to mention that they request that you use the tweezers they provide to eat it with (got to excited and forgot to take a photo of the tweezers) makes it easier to lift the paper thin slices of toro to your mouth... 

Air bags filled with cheese foam and hazelnut oil caviar... the air bags a really thin hollow bread balloons, I mean paper thin bread with a lovely cheese foam, topped with a slice of  manchego cheese and finished with hazelnut oil caviar... they literally explode in your mouth, both the caviar and the air bag !!! 

This is a tiradito of I think it was sea bass but I can't remember what fish it was, they change it depending on what is the freshest fish that day... with a special marinade made with sake, mirin, sugar, soy sauce and ginger... there are also some mini shitake mushrooms also marinated in the same sauce... lovely depth of flavor!!!

Crispy cone of nori with tuna belly tartar, tomato seed,  flying fish roe and chilli strand... the cone is made with brick pastry and nori wrapped together... crispy, full of flavor... beautiful to look at and to taste !!!

Runny duck egg yolk with potato foam and duck fat truffle... there is something so primeval about having runny egg yolk and potato that brings me back to childhood... something about dunking potatoes into runny egg yolk... and the truffle taste well thats for the grown up in me ...


This is called Roast Chicken... Wow, in one bite (well maybe two for normal people) you get blown away by the intense taste of roast chicken that you get... so run down of this: crispy skin that is the base, slow cooked chicken breast sliced on top (smooth and succulent texture), a powerful reduced chicken sauce on top and to finish a little bit of lemon zest and cracked black pepper... a perfect bite of roast chicken!!!!

Steamed mollete bun with pork papada: so for those of you who don't know mollete is a kind of soft baked bun that is typical from the south of spain and papada is the jowl part of the pig, in some places its called jowl bacon. So you get a lovely soft velvety papada and this great spongy bread that is grilled with a little bit of mustard in the centre... a powerful and intense mouthful...

Taco of rabbit al salmorejo... traditional rabbit stew from the Canary Islands... powerful taco, loved the soft wheat taco... the flavors reminded me of the tacos in mexico... 

Boiled Iberico pork with potatoes and pork broth... this I loved... its a refined version of a typical Gallegan dish that is boiled salt pork with potatoes olive oil and paprika... but refined in flavor and texture...

Liquid Payoyo cheese ravioli... typical cheese from Andalusia... my pre-dessert !!! 

Hot-Cold Chocolate fritters: they explode in your mouth with this rich chocolaty sauce !!!!  I could have eaten another plate of these !!!! 

Hot Liquid Almond cake with red peach sorbet... its almost like a liquid soufflé when you start eating it the centre oozes out this warm almond mousse that contrast so well with the cold peach sorbet... 

I know what you are thinking and so was I but no they really are stones... its the chocolate and hazelnut rock on top that was the dessert... its always nice to finish off with a great chocolaty flavor !!!

Even the coffee is served in a different way... suspension of different liquids with different densities anyone??

video

I thought I would leave you with a video of the restaurant from the inside... it really is in my opinion a unique dinning experience... so I suggest get online... and try and book cause you won't be disappointed !!!!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Bar Masa NYC our last lunch before leaving!!!

So with about 4 hours before our flight leaves we decide to have a light lunch... so had to be Japanese. We had been told that the menu it the main restaurant Masa is around $500 per person so we decided that better the bar !! It has been 5 days of eating so... And what an experience it was. http://masanyc.com/



This is what happens when you sit to have lunch about 1 minute after the restaurant opens... time was tight...

Rockshrimp Frito with romescu... beautifully fried and the romescu was nice and creamy (the only thing I was able to  try  of this dish) it was so good that we ordered another one!!

Kanpachi sashimi with jalapeneos and fried potatoes... smooth and loved the spicy kick of the jalapeneos!!! 

Fried calamari with onions great tempura crispy, and not oily at all !! 

Wagyu beef sashimi with garlic soy... interesting though the cold of the sashimi dulls the lovely flavor of the beef... the touch of soy does help with the flavor...

Peking duck and foie gras crepe... it was good, I mean come one peking duck good, foie gras good... crepe good... all together very good. Though there were 5 of us... so.... 

Braised black cod with daikon... this dish I absolutely loved... not only because it was another way of eating black cod that was not glazed with miso (a preparation that I adore) the braising liquid was according to the waiter dashi, soy, sake, mirin, ginger and sugar. Spectacular !!!!

Nasu Eggplant with yuzu miso... well we really could not resist not having something with a miso glaze and I personally love eggplant... very good though a little strong on the sake tasted very alcoholly !!! But still good.

Another fried chicken !!! Garlic Chicken Karaage well this was I ordered as the rock shrimp was so well fried I wanted to try too!!! 

Braised short rib with tosazu vinaigrette... tender melt in your mouth short rib and the acidity of the vinaigrette really helped counter the richness of the beef...

Chefs selection of rolls... we also had sushi... the rice was at the perfect temperature and the seasoning was just right, slight touch of acidity and saltines really worth it !!!

Now just looking forward to going back and trying the big brother Masa restaurant and that $500 menu !!!! On the wish list for 2012!!!!

Friday, 27 January 2012

L´Atelier De Joel Robuchon NY at the Four Seasons

L´Atelier de Joel Robuchon for me is like Nobu, a place that must be visited when you are in a city with one, obligatory stop. Hey some people like the comfort of McDonalds... for me it Nobu and L´Atelier and soon Hakkasan in NY as well (opening 2012).  Oh just to make it clear went to Nobu 57 as well when we where in NY. http://www.preview.fourseasons.com/newyork/dining/restaurants/l_atelier_de_joel_robuchon/

For this dinner we decided to make our own tasting menu as a lot of the dishes that were on the tasting menu we had already tired. For those of you who don't know the menu at L´Atelier its great for sharing. It is split into three parts Tasting portions, A la carte and Tasting menu. So we mixed a little of everything. Great way to have more dishes and trust me when you see the menu you will understand....

Classic amuse bouche to start the meal... warm foie gras parfait with port and parmesan

Carpaccio of scallops with sea urchin... as before the rest of the table had it, texture was great and the creaminess of the sea urchin contrasted perfectly with the scallops... or so they told me 

Poached oysters with salt butter... for someone who did the ordering I sure chose a few shellfish dishes....

These are also a classic of Robuchon Crispy Langoustine papillote basil pesto... the leaf of basil delicately wrapped around the langoustine!! 

Sauteed Amadai in yuzu broth with leek... first time I have tasted amadai, nice texture kind of like black sea bass but with a little less flavor.

Foie Gras ravioli with oriental chicken broth... this must be the posh version of dumplings...  so this is what the rich have when they have a cold !!! 

Black cod has now become my go to fish when its on a menu so when I saw it... Caramelized Black cod with daikon and yuzu broth... good very good... like the black cod at nobu... but the best I tasted this trip was the one in Bar Masa... more on that later on

You know how I said that when there is something on the menu that stands out? Like Spaghetti Carbonara you have to order it.. its like putting fried chicken.. WOW... my best memory of carbonara was this restaurant in Rome that had tagliatelle a la carbonara which they mixed fresh in front of us... this version was spectacular... we fought over finishing this dish... even the bread was used to mop up the left over... 

Sweetbread with bay leaf... very good... creamy and flavorsome !!!

Sauteed squid with artichokes... the least favorite dish... but I think by this point we had so many strong robust flavored dishes that the subtlety of this dish was lost... light flavored calamari...

Confit veal cheek... melt in the mouth deep flavor... the tofu was an interesting touch kind of reinforced the velvety texture of the cheek...

Mini burger with foie gras and caramelized peppers... what can I say... beef good... foie good... burger good!!!!

Hanger steak... we have been having steak or red meat in almost every place we have been and this one was up there.... deep flavor, great fat and tender...

So we where stuffed by this time and we asked the waiter to choose a dessert for us and he said sure no problem... so he brought us this lovely pallet cleanser... rum granite, passion fruit and coconut... yummy light and just what we needed....


But

Then

The pastry chef decided to treat us to the desserts....
In honor of having chefs in the restaurants...
Yes by this time the waiter figured out that with all the questions we were asking
and the photos that we were chefs....
....
...
..
SO

Chocolate Tendance... Bitter chocolaté sorbet, chocolate cream  and chocolate cookies... highly recommended for people who love chocolate...

White chocolate sphere filled with raspberry flavors and yuzu ice cream... the little jug on the side is hot chocolate sauce that gets poured over to break the sphere


Mango... how did I know cause its written on the plate... dough!!! Mango mouse and passion fruit sorbet... reminded me of a mango dessert from the Philippines... lovely velvety and smooth !!!

Blown sugar sphere filled with blueberry sorbet, blueberry compote and lemon jam... this was so beautiful to look at that we did not want to break it... but ohhhh it was worth breaking and eating 


Highly recommended for anyone who wants to have an interesting meal... plus the bar seating around the kitchen means that you can go and sit alone in the bar and have a meal and watch the show !!!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

ABC Kitchen in NYC

First post of this New Year and new projects on the horizon... guess where I will be headed in the Summer? My time in Marbella is coming to an end and yes you have guessed it I am relocating to NYC !!! First scouting trip to the Big Apple was very interesting and here is one of the restaurants that we enjoyed the most... organic/all natural !!! http://www.abckitchennyc.com


Place setting was great each of us got a different base plate. Reminds me of sitting at my grandmothers table for sunday lunch (or whenever she would break out the fine china!)

Tuna sashimi with ginger and mint!! Great flavor and loved the picant touch of the ginger and the slight soy in the background!!! Plus can never get enough of sushi/sashimi so great bonus!!

Bay Scallops sautéed... slightly spicy and rich in flavor or at least thats what the rest of the table said as I don't eat shellfish... allergy... shame most people tell me... don't know been like that for almost always !!! 

We had to try some of the organic vegetables so we ordered a very interesting pairing of ingredients.... glazed spicy carrots and avocado. This was from their market table part of the menu and changes as the season and availability change. It also had a spicy flavor to the carrots and the micro salad on top worked well to mellow it out. 

Crab meat toast !!! According to the rest of the table it was spectacular, rich and salty crab !!! 

This on the other hand I can personally say was spectacular !!! Roasted pumpkin toast... amazing that it had no meat on it but had a great earthy and almost meaty flavor coming through!! 

The starters... table was a little tight... but that was more because we like to share all the starters and main course thus getting to taste more things!!! You have to if you want to get a great cross section of such an interesting menu!! Great little detail as well of serving extra virgin olive oil from California instead of butter... for those of us who like olive oil instead of butter... though .... 

When on the menu you see something that is called Fried Chicken... well you just have to order it !!! And wow what a fired chicken... worth it!!!

Sautéed Brussels sprouts... its the season and they are sweet and slightly bitter and perfectly cooked!!

Roasted suckling pig with lardon and caramelized onions...

This dish was probably the one we liked the least... not for anything else than coming from Spain the suckling pig we have tasted is just better... 

This pizza was great!!! Mushrooms, cheese and egg... three great ingredients on top of a pizza.... I mean what else can you say???!??? YUMMY 

Clams, mint, parsley and jalapeño chillies... consensus it was good but they were not big fans of so much spice !! But hey I just took the jalapeños and put them on the mushroom pizza... adapt and evolve !!! hahahah  


So all in all a great dinner at ABC kitchen and the interior of the restaurant is spectacular... not to mention the shop and the great open plan kitchen !!!