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2nd November 2017. Husband’s 50th birthday.
Here’s a bright idea. He’s a big foodie so let’s take him to the best restaurant in the world. Oh and it’s in Girona, a place he loves. Win win!
Back to 30th November 2016, midnight – time when bookings for November 2017 open on the El Celler de can Roca website.
With only 54 diners per service, securing a booking is no mean feat indeed.
Fast forward 11 months and our rollercoaster of taste and experience lasted 5 amazing hours. It lived up to the hype. Easily.
Neither of us had ever eaten in a 3 Michelin star restaurant before, let alone one of the best in the world so I felt a bit intimidated and nervous when entering the gardens of El Celler – what if? What if I didn’t know how to behave? What if it wasn’t as good as planned and we’d come all this way to be disappointed?
I needn’t have worried. It was everything we had heard and read about, and more. Absolutely worth every penny and booking 11 months in advance. The food, the theatre and the service were all second to none.
The culinary journey started by a private tour of the kitchen where 30 chefs (yes you’ve read that right – thirty chefs) are busy preparing food for only 54 diners. We shook hands with Joan Roca (as you do).
In the amazement and surprise, I totally forgot to check for any sign of a Thermomix or 2… that doesn’t mean there wasn’t one, there probably was, every kitchen and restaurant in Spain has got one!
We were then shown to our table for what was the beginning of the most spectacular meal of our lives.
Their own exclusive bubbly started free-flowing before we were even shown any sign of a menu.
We opted for the feast menu – 14 courses + 3 appetizers each served with a pairing wine… sometimes 3. All free flowing too, though we only asked for a top up once as the quantities are well thought through and we really really didn’t need anymore! Yep – heads are a bit sore today (the day after)!
The food ballet that ensued was truly incredible. The dishes are so imaginative, so cleverly presented and served by very attentive and friendly staff. The attention to detail is superb. Every single dish has got the wow factor.
If I am perfectly honest, some of the dishes were not exactly to our taste – the combination and use of certain ingredients is plain weird but we cracked on with enjoying the experience.
It’s not hard to appreciate why this place has been voted ‘best restaurant in the world’ on more than one occasion. It truly was a memorable experience for a memorable occasion and should be on any foodie’s bucket list.
Now for the #foodporn you’ve been waiting for:
Round the world appetizers – olive sorbet hanging from a Bonzai tree, caviar and other delicious goodies.
Consomme gelee of red mullet
Red mullet marinate with kombu, saffron, charcoal grilled garlic, tomato and fennel
Oyster fennel sauce, black garlic, apple, seaweed, mushrooms, distilled earth and anemone
Langoustine with sagebrush, vanilla oil and toasted butter
Mackerel with tempeh of “ganxet” beans
Prawn marinated with rice vinegar – Prawn’s head sauce, crispy prawn legs, seaweed veloute, and phytoplankton (missed the picture for that one!)
Cuttlefish with sake lees and black rice sauce
Turbot with vegetables fermented in brine
Duck with corn and figs
Iberian suckling pig with salad of green papaya, thai grapefruit, apple, coriander, chilli pepper, lime and cashew
Charcoal grilled lamb consomme – Lamb’s tongue, vinaigrette and lamb scratching with lamb brain and tripe
Squab civet and its parfait
The plant, from roots to flowers – Distillate of sand, liquorice, tomato leaf, cucumber, chartreuse, red fruits, melon, orange blossom and violet
Pine wood – Ice cream of pine honey, thyme, rosemary, and oregano
Old book – Puffed pastry of butter cookies, cream of Darjeeling tea and old book essence.
And that my friend was us done, for the main meal. Gorgeous petits fours and a coffee followed which concluded the afternoon perfectly.
A few more for the ‘everything else’ category, starting with this one. 2 gentlemen decided to keep on their table every single glass they drunk out off during their meal…
Our lovely and very knowledgeable sommelier. And us meeting Juan Roca, which was a pleasure!