Archive for May, 2009

El Celler De Can Roca – numbers do lie!

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

The S.Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurants list rates El Celler De Can Roca as number 5, not that the place is bad, far from it. It is just that I haven’t been to all the best restaurants in the world yet, and this one already is not in my top 5.  Actually I should have know better than trust this list, as last year I visited number 11 L’Astrance in Paris, again not bad – but not really worth in my view the acolades it receives. Plus this year Restaurant Gordon Ramsay – Royal Hospital Road in Chelsea did not even make the top 100, and that is most definately in my top 10.

El Celler De Can Roca is out in the suburbs of Girona, so about 1 hour on the train from Barcelona, then a 10-15 minute taxi ride.  It is a very stylish venue, and they had some nice touches, the one I especially approved off, was the complimentary Cava and water (not that we did not really pay for it in the bill – as El Celler De Can Roca is not cheap). This is a much nicer approach than staff pushing you to buy a glass of overpriced Champagne before your meal (one of my pet hates).

An easier alternative in the Roca Brothers empire, is to just stay in Barcelona and go to their restaurant at Hotel Omm , Moo.

UPDATE: March 2010 – El Celler De Can Roca, was awarded its third Michelin star this year.

UPDATE: April 2010 -  El Celler De Can Roca is now at number 4 on the S.Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurants list.

UPDATE: April 2013 -  El Celler De Can Roca is now number 1 on the S.Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurants list.

Marks out of 10

Food 7

Service 8

Ambience 8

LOCATION INFORMATION
Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – Girona, Spain

Silenus – Losing its Midas touch?

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

Silenus was always one of the better restaurants in the Ravel area. We have had some really good dishes there,  but on a more recent visit the food was quite ordinary. It had shifted its direction from fusion to more traditional. However it may be on the way back to fusion as recent research shows it being described now as doing  International/Japanese cuisine (Japanese food is very trendy in Barcelona at the moment), so who knows.  On the plus side it is a fairly laid back  place to eat, so we may give it another try on our next visit to Barcelona.

IMGP1112

Marks out of 10

Food 5

Service 5

Ambience 5.5

LOCATION INFORMATION
Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – Barcelona, Spain

Moo and Moovida – Hotel Omm

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

Moo is the 1 star Michelin restaurant (part of the Roca brothers empire) situated in the Hotel Omm in Barcelona, (part of the Grupo Tragaluz).

It is very fashionable, very much a place to be seen. Normally in this sort of venue the food disappoints, but here for once  the food is actually good enough to match the atmosphere. Advanced booking is essential.

IMG_3715
Moo

Marks out of 10 – Moo

Food 7

Service 7

Ambience 7.5

Moovida is the informal bar/dinning area. This venue is an especially useful recommendation as you can normally do a walk in.  Its also a great place for food and people watching (unless you are facing the wall that might as well be an NCP car park. Etiquette apparently dictates that the woman sits looking into the room, getting the interesting view. While the man has to stare at a wall. I’ve lost count of the number of tables I’ve sat at looking at a fire exit sign…rant over).

IMGP1688
Moovida

Short video showing Hotel Omm, finishes with some images of that wall in Moovida:-

Marks out of 10 – Moovida

Food 7

Service 7

Ambience 7

LOCATION INFORMATION
Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – Barcelona, Spain

Neichel – a classic

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Neichels is a venue for special occasions, it’s a little of the beaten track, but well worth making the effort to get there.

Its style is classical rather than cutting edge. It provides a stunning desert trolley and a large range of PX sherries (something of an acquired taste –  almost a dessert in themselves).

 

Dessert at Neichel

Marks out of 10

Food 7

Service 7

Ambience 7

LOCATION INFORMATION
Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – Barcelona, Spain

OT or maybe nOT!

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

I would not go out of my way to try out OT, but if you are in the area (it’s near the Sagrada Família), then it’s a viable option for an interesting lunch. (This restaurant by the way is now known as Libentia, I guess they did not like the pun!).

It is fairly casual and a bit experimental. The best part of my meal was the dessert which incorporated Mango Sorbet and popping candy.

Marks out of 10

Food 5.7

Service 6

Ambience 5.5

LOCATION INFORMATION
Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – Barcelona, Spain

Comerç 24 – restoring faith in Molecular gastronomy

Monday, May 11th, 2009

This 1 star Michelin is something of a Barcelona gem. Its much more experimental and adventurous in its cooking than most. At the beginning of the meal we were presented with a rack of 4 olive oil bottles to try with the bread. Gold leaf coated Macadamia nuts inside a Sardine tin prepare you for a meal that is not traditional by any measure. One particularly memorable course was the soup. Six tiny flavoured  egg yokes suspended in the soup. When eaten they pop and melt over your tongue. A wonderful effect.

I was going off the idea of going to elBulli in this life time, considering it seems impossible to get a reservation, thinking that perhaps its a bit too out there, but my experience at Comerç 24 made me think there might be something to this Molecular gastronomy after all, so if you can not get to elBulli, Comerç 24 might be a more acceptable alternative.

Marks out of 10

Food 8.5

Service 6 – ( Sommelier 8 )

Ambience 5

LOCATION INFORMATION
Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – Barcelona, Spain

Sant Pau, Sant Pol de Mer – a breath of fresh air

Monday, May 11th, 2009

To get out of the city for a day, we went to Carme Ruscelleda’s restaurant in Sant Pol de Mer (about 40 minutes on the RENFE train from Barcelona).

Interesting location overlooking the sea and the train station.

IMGP1718 IMGP1717

Very good, beautiful and amusingly presented food.

IMGP1723 IMGP1721

There is  a rather interesting shrine on the way out, see if you can spot the tribute to the Michelin Man.

IMGP1736

Looking forward to Spains top-ranked female chef opening an outpost in the not too distant future at the new Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Barcelona.

Marks out of 10

Food 7

Service 7 – ( Sommelier 4 )

Ambience 8

LOCATION INFORMATION
Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – Sant Pol de Mer, Spain

Cinc Sentits (five senses) – you’ll use em all

Monday, May 11th, 2009

We stumbled across this Barcelona restaurant 4 years ago. I think it had not been open for long. We had seen some stylish photos of the food on their website (www.cincsentits.com) and thought it looked interesting. Frankly I expected style over substance. When we arrived for lunch the long room was empty but for one table. Not a good sign I thought.

The young lady who acted as waitress and sommelier brought us a shot glass with some strange coloured layers and explained we should drink it in one go. Well….it turned out be the start of a great culinary experience that truly wowed us.

When a dish uses ingredients that you would normally not be keen on (lemon and blue cheese in my case) and transforms them into memorable moments that you still talk about years later, then you know you have a very special chef in the kitchen.

We left on a high. Thanking the waitress for a wonderful lunch and using my sixth sense stated that they should have a Michelin star. Maybe next year she replied modestly.

Well it took a few more years and now they have their first Michelin star.

So we made a return visit in May this year and I suspect they will not have too long to wait for a second star.

The food and matching wines were the best I think I have had any where. Some of the combinations were simply sublime. The only let down was the oxtail course which was a replacement for the pork belly. Other than that I had a near perfect lunch.

We plan to return again in September as this is one restaurant that deserves all the accolades it gets.

Marks out of 10

Food 9

Service 8

Ambience 8

LOCATION INFORMATION
Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – Barcelona, Spain

Cuines Santa Caterina – Grupo Tragaluz goes to the market

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Cuines Santa Caterina is housed in the Mercat Santa Caterina , it is great for an informal lunch. You can not book, so get there as soon as you can after it opens at 1:00 to guarantee getting a seat.

IMGP1690 IMGP1692

P150509_12.53 IMGP1695

They have an English version of their menu, which is worth asking for as the menu layout is a bit odd.

IMGP1694

It is probably a bit more expensive than a lot of the lunch options in Barcelona, but it’s all about quality and they deliver on that with fresh market ingredients.

I highly recommend the Catalan sausage with foie gras

I highly recommend the Catalan sausage with foie gras

It is part of the Grupo Tragaluz who really know the restaurant business. The other restaurants in the group are always good standbys, and their flag ship Michelin stared restaurant Moo in the Hotel Omm is well worth a visit, for both food and people watching.

Marks out 10

Food 6.5

Service 5.5

Ambience 6

LOCATION INFORMATION
Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – Barcelona, Spain

Tram Tram – off the beaten track

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

Tram Tram is situated in the lovely Sarrià area of Barcelona.  Take the FGC to Sarrià (Nuria exit),  it just takes 10 mins on an air conditioned train from Pl Catalunya to get to Sarrià.

See video of the square in Sarria :-

We had been trying to get to Tram Tram for a number of years but it was always closed when we passed. From its name we expected it to be a casual walk in venue. Much to my surprise when we did get a booking,  it was a much more up market affair.

It has several dinning areas, a small room at the front, a larger room at the back, a private room and a small courtyard.  The food is of a high standard and the service is efficient and friendly. That same year we visited the 3 Michelin Star Sant Pau and I can tell you that I actually enjoyed my meal more here.

It has now become a regular venue for us. If it wasn’t for the competition from Cinc Sentits and Comerc 24 this year then this would be my number one in Barcelona. No Michelin star….just a hidden gem. It’s also superb value for money.

Marks out of 10

Food 7.5

Service 6

Ambience 6.5

LOCATION INFORMATION
Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – Barcelona, Spain

El Jardí – see if you can find it!

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

El Jardí is not the easiest place to find, it is in the grounds of the Hospital de la Santa Creu/next to the Massana Art school in El Raval.

It’s an open air bar that does pretty basic meals/snacks. It is popular with students, but be warned the area around it can be a bit edgy .

See video of Buskers at El Jardi from a few years ago:-

We started chilling out here when it was little more than a few tables and a portable loo. Its grown up a bit since then. You may need to wait for a table when its busy, but it’s worth a short wait, table turn around is not too bad.

IMGP1137

Marks out of 10

Food  4

Service 4

Ambience 7

LOCATION INFORMATION
Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – Barcelona, Spain

Alkimia – If you like fish…for dessert!

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

The owner of Tram Tram in Barcelona recommended we try Alkimia.  A restaurant we hadn’t heard of at the time.

When we arrived we choose the Grand Festival menu as we expected this to be lots of small portions.

The first 3 courses arrived and they were wonderful. The fourth course arrived and it was a fish risotto that filled the bowl! Oh dear this is going to get tough.  Please let the next course be meat…..oh my god I’m not sure I can get through this.  Then another fish course….argh. By the time we got to the final dessert I had tears rolling down my cheeks as it tasted of fish!

I don’t doubt the quality of the cooking (minus the fishy dessert). The lesson here is be careful when you order the Grand Festival. In this case we literally had bitten off more than we could chew.

Marks out of 10

Food 7

Service 7

Ambience 7

LOCATION INFORMATION
Browse Google Map© :- NoExpert Food Blog – Barcelona, Spain