Thursday, 23 April 2020

Enigma (Barcelona)

The height of experimental cuisine 

Roasted lobster in aged beef fat

Enigma is part of a mini restaurant empire by Albert Adrià. One of the key players behind the legendary El Bulli. After the closing of El Bulli, Albert has created a number of restaurants which instantly became a hit. The most famous one has to be Tickets. However, Enigma is slowly gathering a reputation. It was launched in 2017, and the concept was highly ambitious. It serves only a blind tasting menu with more than 30 courses. The restaurant is spread into 6 sessions where guests would enjoy a few dishes per station before moving onto the next one. You would kick off the journey from the reception area, followed by a mini-bar station to enjoy some canapes, before moving onto a raw bar, a grill bar then to the main dining room and dessert bar.

Cocina Hermanos Torres (Barcelona)

Iconic restaurant in the making

Suckling pig from Extremadura

Barcelona is one of the top gastronomy destinations in Europe, flooded with so many top restaurants, ranging from classy tapas bars to state of the art fine dinings. Picking a place to visit is not an easy task. I picked Cocina Hermanos Torres based on 1 reason, the double Michelin starred venue has 3 island kitchens taking the central stage inside the main dining area. All the tables are built around the kitchens so, in theory, every single table is a chef table, having the chance to witness chefs in action. The restaurant is also located within a former warehouse but with a contemporary makeover to make it extremely edgy. Like many modern fine dining restaurants in Barcelona, Cocina Hermanos Torres serves a tasting menu with a very limited alc option.

Angle (Barcelona)

Jordi Cruz's rising star

Red prawns on salted rock stone

Angle is located in the heart of Barcelona. Part of the luxury hospitality group Abac, it is the newest Michelin two-starred restaurant in the city, having got promoted in the 2020 guide. The chef behind Angle is a Spanish culinary heavyweight, Jordi Cruz. The talented chef is one of the youngest ever chefs to reach 3 Michelin star status in the world, his flagship restaurant Abac, which is not far away from Angle, is one of the only two 3 starred restaurants in Barcelona. Jordi is renowned for his cutting edge, creative approach in fine dining, taking inspirations from around the world. At Angle, he only offers two tasting menu, just like at Abac.

Mantúa (Jerez)

Jerez's answer to fine dining

Hake poached in cow fat, cavier

When I was traveling across Andalusia in Spain, checking out Jerez was on top of my list. Jerez is famous for its sherry production, and the small city is home to many famous sherry houses. To round off my day trip to Jerez, a top restaurant for lunch was on my agenda and I picked Mantua. It is one of the only two Michelin starred restaurants, run by a local chef Israel Ramos who gathered experience working at other starred restaurants in the Andalusia region. Mantua has only 6 tables in a clean, spacious modern dining room with a high ratio of staff vs dinners. Like many Spanish fine dining restaurants, al la carte is not on the menu with only muti courses tasting menu is on offer.

Monday, 13 April 2020

Abantal (Seville)

The peak of fine dining in Seville

Steamed large red prawn, sauté rice and tomato

There are not great numbers of fine dining restaurants in Seville, I would suspect that is largely down to the fact there are so many high-quality values for money tapas bar and restaurants around the city already, so is there much point of fine dining? Abantal is the only Michelin starred restaurant in the city, located not too far from the city center. Chef-owner Julio Fernández Quintero's cooking style is based on modern Spanish cuisine with a touch of Middle Eastern inspiration, as Seville, along with the whole of Southern Spain, has been occupied by the Arabs in the past which had a big influence to the local cuisine development. The restaurant itself is small, with around 10 tables across the contemporary dining room, and two tasting menus (a standard one or a longer one) to pick from.