Spain 2010: Restaurant 4: El Celler de Can Roca (***)

Wow!! this was amazing…. we had dinner at El Celler de Can Roca. We knew it was going to be good but it was outstanding. The Roca brothers cooking as well as the informal, attentive service was the best. No wonder this restaurant is number 4 in the S. Pellegrino top 50 best restaurants in the world after Noma, El Bulli and the Fat Duck. Highly recommended

I have been thinking about why we liked El Celler de Can Roca so much… i think it was the fact that we were constantly “entertained”, from food to wine, to little surprises like the olive tree below, to the light and airy restaurant, it was like going to the theatre, a show with rave reviews nonetheless… Let’s take a look at the food:

We chose the tasting menu but added an additional dish at the end. With Jordi Roca in charge of desserts we had to try another of his signature creations….. The Cuban cigar…..

With the menu we had a matching wine menu (luckily we didn’t have to drive :-))

we drank:

Wine 1: Cava Nadal Salvatage Rosat D.O Cava

Wine 2: Papirusa Manzanilla D.O San Lucar de Barrameda

Wine 3: Finca Viladellops 07 D.O. Penedès

Wine 4: Navazos Niepoort 08

Wine 5: Rocallis 04 D.O Penedès

Wine 6: Els Bassot 07 D.O. Conca de Barberà

Wine 7: 1er Cru Champs Martin 02 Lorenzon A.O.C. Mercurey

Wine 8: Oloroso del Puerto Lustau Almacenista D.O. Jerez

Wine 9: Rabajà 01 Bruno Roca D.O.C.G. Barbaresco

Wine 10: Gewurztraminer Spätlese 07 Ökonomierat Rebholz VDP Pfalz

Wine 11: Rislaner Auslese 2005 de Basserman-Jordan Pfalz

Before we even had seen a menu the first surprise was with us, suddenly somebody put this rather large bonsai tree on our table, i looked up a little strange but of course we were told that hanging in the tree are olives for the picking, 2 olives each that we pulled off little hooks in the tree.

Caramelised Olive

The olives were reworked and liquid within filled with anchovies… the start of a great evening.

Campari bombon

After that we got this little bonbon on crushed ice, it was pure Campari in a little layer that felt like wax. A little flavour explosion in the mouth.

Black Sesame Cracker

Followed in quick succession by these gorgeous sesame and cocoa crackers

Anchovy bone

and next to them some innovative “crisps”. These were a little bit like puffed rice (actually rice tempura) with the anchovy spine on top, not my favourite though.

Truffled brioche with pot au feu broth

This little dish was gorgeous, very light and packed full of flavour… a winner. The steamed brioche was filled with garlic and truffle and the brioche was topped with lots more truffle. The pot au feu was very meaty and comforting.

You must think I am starting to get boring! The above 2 pictures are of St. Georges Omelette with liquid mushroom center on top and a pigeon parfait at the bottom…. i cannot say anything else… beautiful! I guess that is the main reason they are doing so well, it is just the ability to extract all possible flavour into a dish.

Two pictures of the restaurant environment, all tables are situated around a glass cube/ courtyard garden (below picture) and every two tables are separated by the commode element you see in the top picture. These mise en place cupboards are amazing, every compartment has its own use and it contains everything the waiting staff needs during the evening, all menu wines, glasses, cutlery, etc. And yes, they go through all of it (including all those glasses you see) during the course of an evening!

Cherries with baby prawns and ginger

The cherries and prawns was an interesting dish as i was afraid i would find it too sweet but it wasn’t at all, it was perfectly balanced. You cannot see the prawns as these are hidden under the foam. The cherries you see are actually sculpted bits of cherry ice cream in a cold cherry soup.

Oyster with Fino sherry escabeche, seaweed and oyster sauce


Charcoal-grilled king prawn

I don’t know how they do it but these king prawns were so pure in flavour, texture and colour that you would think it still to be alive, all this is some deep prawn veloute. A little garden was created from powdered prawn cracker to the side with prawn legs, samphire, and other veggies, all edible

Onion soup, Crespia walnuts and Comte cheese

Look at that, can you imagine how many plates are stacked up in the kitchen?? every dish another plate 🙂

This dish was made of sticky onion soup with walnuts, bread, more onions and fennel. A Comte and walnut soup was then poured over the dish

Onion soup, Crespia walnuts and Comte cheese 2

Sole, olive oil and Mediterranean flavours

This concept was very good, the sole with different oils and flavours, fennel, bergamot, orange, pine nut and olive. Eatingwise i think i found this a bit disappointing, it is what it is… there is little “performance”

Baby squids with onion rocks

Tender squid in its own sauce with a black rock of moist bread and onion confit….

Red mullet with suquet (Catalan seafood stew) and lard

Very fresh and tender red mullet with gnocchi delivered what it says….

Steak tartare with mustard ice cream

I loved this dish!! I like steak tartare, but this was in another league!! Let’s start with the meat, I have never had veal of this quality in my steak tartare, no griddle, membranes or anything else, delicious. The little bubbles on top is the mustard ice cream and the four “pillows” each have another flavouring….chive, curry powder, smoked paprika and Sichuan pepper. if only i could eat this dish every week.

Lamb with peach terrine and apricot

Tender braised lamb neck with a cheesy foam and crispy lamb skin, simple but beautiful

Lemon-distillate sorbet

The lemon distillate sorbet was lying in great lemon cream.

Rose souffle

The rose souffle came with guave and lychee foam, a very light not too rosy dessert.

Orange colourology

This looks gorgeous or what? and it tasted good as well! It was made from Orange ice cream, carrot slivers, orange segments and apricot eau de vie. That’s what i call colour.

Extra: A trip to Havana

Our extra dessert: A chocolate cigar resting on an ashtray with actual sweetened cigar ash at the end and in the ashtray. On the side the Roca version of a Mojito.

The taste of the cigar with the ash was something i had never eaten before but it worked, i felt like i was actually smoking a cigar while eating it, and i mean this in a pleasant way.

The Mojito on the side was amazing, made of jellies, foam, etc. it was the freshness that complemented the cigar.

Petit fours

And that is luxury, a box full of delicious macaroons. All 5 different macaroon flavours were based on classic perfumes (Miracle, Eternity, Terra, etc.)

Petit fours 2

Our evening at El Celler de Can Roca was amazing as you might have gathered, it was fun, surprising, very high quality and top service, the only thing to ask is: when can we go back!! Highly recommended


About foodietrials

I love my food. I love cooking it, I love eating it.
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