Posts Tagged ‘Catalunya’

El Celler de Can Roca, a marvel of understated food perfection.

Posted by Mike Tommasi on 25 March 2013 in Restaurant Reviews

Six of us decided to take off for the weekend and have lunch on Friday Nov. 23rd 2012 at this most exquisite place, certainly the best restaurant in my experience. The room is airy and calm, built around a central triangular glass atrium of birch trees, with the tables set far apart from each other, and additional privacy being provided by the movable furniture used to store things like menus, plates and glasses but acting like discrete room dividers, without cutting up the space. One feels comfortable at El Celler, there is no rush and everyone who works there is tuned into making your stay pleasant. The service is perfect, available when you want it to be and always ready to explain in detail what you are eating. Davide was our waiter, as he had been for our last visit in 2008, when El Celler strangely had only two stars. We all opted for the 165 Euro Menu Festival.

Unlike eating at El Bulli, with all the basic flaws that I listed in a blog review back then (basically: monotonous mushiness of all dishes, complete lack of consideration for wine, fundamental errors in the balance of tastes, manifest desire to mask out any taste associated with the ingredients), eating at El Celler is a precision affair. The techniques pioneered by Adrià are used here not to make the ingredient’s taste disappear, on the contrary, tastes are exalted and therefore Joan Roca uses prime local seasonal produce. Instead of making mushy or explosive or simply acrid morsels to shock a jaded decadent bourgeoisie like the master of Cala Montjoi, Roca keeps everything under control and always perfectly delicious and varied. In addition he develops a kind of narrative about an imaginary world tour, exploring the intricate relations between the local Mediterranean traditions and the many exchanges that happened throughout history between the Mare Nostrum and many faraway places. He is aided by his brothers, Josep, a brilliant sommelier with an interest in all wine (and not just Spanish), and Jordi, a pastry chef of incredible talent.

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Villa Más, s’Agaró, Costa Brava

Posted by Mike Tommasi on 1 April 2012 in Restaurant Reviews
Villa Más, S'Agaró

Villa Más, S'Agaró

This second visit to Villa Más was prompted by my father’s 80th birthday, and since he lives a few miles away from S’Agaró, I invited my parents for lunch there. The site is quite nice, especially at this time of the year, when the weather is good but the tourists are far away. The beach is a few steps away, so the Villa Más terrace is an ideal place for Sunday lunch for five.

My blogging is fairly sparse these days, so I hesitate to refer to my friend Joan Gómez Pallarès and Vincent Pousson as “fellow wine bloggers”; anyhow, both live in Barcelona and strongly recommended going back to Villa Màs.

I remembered from the previous visit how spectacular the wine list was, particularly on French wines , and especially Burgundy. What I did not remember is how good the prices are. Grange des Pères and Peyre Rose are both 70 Euro, which is amazing, considering that in France you would pay close to double that amount. Catalan restaurants have this nice habit of not charging 4-5 times the purchase price, which is standard in France.

The food at Villa Más is quite remarkable too. The chef really knows what he’s doing. My pig’s trotters (peus de porc) with sea cucumbers (esparenyes) were beautifully served – 4 circles of finely chopped meat topped with a thin disc of crackling and an espardenya. Beautiful visuals led to a wonderful array of textures, from the rich soft slowly cooked meat with its gelatinous consistency to the cracking crackling and the delicate fibrous sea cucumber, a great match, perfectly executed. Same goes for the rest of the family’s choices, like monkfish with iberic bacon, or “macaroni” with Idiazábal cheese.

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Carme Ruscalleda – Sant Pau

Posted by Mike Tommasi on 28 July 2009 in Restaurant Reviews

Getting a reservation at the Sant Pau (c/Nou, 10 – E-08395 Sant Pol de Mar – Catalunya, Spain – T: +34-93-7600662) is not an easy matter, this three-star dining room only has 9 tables. Catherine and I travel frequently to Catalunya, my parents live in the Baix Empordà area; the region is also one of the earth’s true hot spots for star chefs: within 120km of Sant Feliu de Guíxols, that useful tyrant known as the Red Guide has identified 38 one-star eateries, 2 two-stars and 3 three-stars! While I can only describe my experience at super-legendary elBulli as “interesting”, a recent visit to El Celler de Can Roca proved to be one the most memorable and perfect lunches of my life. Sant Pau is very different from Can Roca, and yet both share the same extremely high level of taste, precision, service as well as culinary culture and intelligence.
Sant Pau, Carme Ruscalleda

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El Celler de Can Roca

Posted by Mike Tommasi on 13 May 2008 in Restaurant Reviews

El Celler de Can Roca is one of my most memorable dining experiences, up there with Troisgros. At 279€ for 2 people with 19 courses and 9 wines by the glass, one could also call it a bargain (the top menu is 100€ per person).
El
To read more about this experience, please visit Vinix, the wine social network site run by my friend Filippo Ronco. My complete article is there with some pictures taken on the cell phone.

Pasanau

Posted by Mike Tommasi on 28 April 2008 in Wine Tasting

For the first barbecue of the season last weekend I prepared some lamb chops and opened a bottle of La Morera de Montsant 2002, a Priorat D.O. by Cellers Pasanau. This turned out to be an excellent match.
morera02.jpg

The bottle was offered to me by Joan Gómez Pallarès, the man at the keyboard of De Vinis Cibisque. We had met for a lunch in Barcelona during the Mobile World Congress last February.

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