Friday, May 16, 2014

Enoteca, Barcelona

Enoteca, 4-9-14, 145 Euros/9 Courses, French-Mediterranean

Enoteca is the only Michelin 2-star restaurant located within the city boundary of Barcelona. Since I had to catch the trans-Atlantic flight from Barcelona to NY, I decided to have dinner at Enoteca. It is inside the Hotel Arts located in the marina section of Barcelona. The theme color in the restaurant is white, with simple and classic decoration and fabulous ocean view. I ordered the tasting menu with a special request for their signature dish “fresh sea cucumber”.

Amuse Bouche

I. 1st course
1) Waldorf Salad – pineapple gelatin, apple cullies, diced onion and vinegar foam.

2) Pine Nut (slightly roasted) in wulato paper. Pine needles are for decoration only.

3) Foie Gras in dunkin donut shape covered by raspberry coating. Raspberry’s sweet-sour taste
complemented with Foie Gras’s richness. It was also chef’s creative work.

II. 2nd course
1) Coco Thai – coconut mousse, marinated langoustine and dyed red color onion.

2) Chili Crab – Northern Catalan Cap de Creus crab in chili sauce.

3) Niguiri - Tuna tartar with rice meringue cover.

III. 3rd course
1) Shrimp with suckling pig – sautéed shrimp on a piece of crispy sucking pig skin.

2) Andalucía shrimp in rice paper, mayo and olive oil.

VI. 4th course – Viva Mexico
1) Taco with guacamole mousse, avocado and couscous.

2) Macaroon with guacamole.

3) Hot pepper covered with Chibodre chili paste.

The Amuse Bouche served in Enoteca, like what served in El Celler de Can Roca, were with a “world” view, offering varieties from different countries.

1st Course – Almond cream, almond ice cream and caviar

This course served as a palate cleanser to clear the Mexican scented Amuse Bouches. Caviar, very good quality, was from Caspian Sea.

2nd Course – Braised oyster, white radish air and its soup

Oyster was braised in its soup and sea water, decorated with gold piece. I have heard that some Mediterranean dishes were cooked with sea water. Incorporating sea water in the cooking process did produce a very strong sea water taste. It was too overwhelming.

3rd Course – Sea cucumber, morrel, fava beans and cherry tomato

During this trip to the Northeastern Spain, I have had fresh sea cucumber three times at El Celler de Can Roca, Sant Pau and Enoteca. Sea cucumber was considered good food, the type of food which strengthens your health, in Chinese herbal medicine. Out of these three servings, Enoteca’s was the best. Later, I was informed by the Executive Chef that it was stir-fried in high heat quickly. It was very tender and tasty, tasted almost like scallop but firmer than scallop and less chewy than squid. Baby fava beans were also tender and yummy.

4th Course – The garden and foie gras

Seared foie gras served with gelatin of almond, carrot cream, asparagus, cream, artichoke heart, onion, potato cream, beet root and beet root sauce. The combination of almond gelatin and beet root sauce made this dish stand out.

5th Course – Creamy rice with sea urchin and melanosporum black truffle

It was risotto with sea urchin and topped with shaved black truffles. All the top notch ingredients cooked with the right technique produced a perfect dish of risotto.

6th Course – Sole with winter vegetables and meuniére of fennel

Poached filet of sole served with shrimp gamba, parsley foam, artichoke, purée of vegetables, muniére of fennel, and baby radish (at lower left corner in green color). Fish was well prepared, not over-cooked and sauce was delicious.

7th Course – Wagyu, beef, its braised juice and contrasts

Wagyu beef served rare-medium with sweet potato gnocchi, carrot, chestnut, and beet pumpkin butter. All the vegetables were well-prepared and beef was top quality. Beet pumpkin butter was something unusual, delicious but not greasy.

8th Course – Palate cleanser

After Eight – chocolate-mint ice cream was served before the desert was served.

9th Course – By Tarantino

I have never had any desert with this kind of texture. It was made with white chocolate with a texture firmer than mousse but lighter than cheese cake. There were tiny pieces of strawberry gelatins inside the cake and the cake was served with strawberry sauce. It was sumptuous and visually very pleasing.

Petit Four

Starting from left, they are: Caramel meringue with mint, vanilla macaroon, chocolate hazelnut truffle, and fennel liquor with coffee bonbon. My favorite was chocolate hazelnut truffle.

At the end of meal, the Executive Chef came out to the dining room to greet every guest. It was at this occasion that he told me the proper way of cooking fresh sea cucumber. Enoteca offered finely prepared food with high creativity and beautiful presentation. The signature dish “Sea cucumber, morrels and fava beans” definitely is the best and should be in the “do not miss” list (for the foodie) when travelling in Northeastern Spain-Catalan.

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