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Posts posted by AlexForbes

  1. You can always count on the brothers Ferran and Albert Adrià to pull a surprising new move without doing much explaining....

    41 Grados, the funky and avant-garde "bar" which served up until recently the brothers’ Bulli-style “snacks” and iconoclast drinks, is no more.

    After being open for only a few months, it has ceased to exist in its original form and has quietly “morphed” into a tiny urban El-Bulli-type restaurant, which opened a few days ago (Oct 18 to be exact).

    This new 41 Grados is not similar to Tickets, the brothers’ contemporary “tapas bar” next door, but much more ambitious in its gastronomic explorations.

    Diners – a mere 14 lucky few of them – will be served a succession of 41 courses. Albert Adrià has been feverishly working on the menu for several months and is visibly excited to be going back to creating whatever wild stuff comes to his mind. He’s even designed the tableware to match the new “dishes”.

    Older brother Ferran being too busy touring the world as the face of giant Telefonica as well as attending to several other engagements, such as promotional events for his latest book, Albert is clearly the one running the 41 Grados show.

    As was customary at El Bulli, reservations for 41 Grados are only taken online, by email (experience@41grados.es). There is, however, an additional hurdle: tables are only available for even numbers of diners (no solo critics allowed, therefore): either two or four.

    I went there 2 nights ago and all I can say is..... BOOK NOW! :biggrin:


  2. Just got back from Barcelona and Spanielking the answer is YES - you need a reservation in both cases, so you can't go to Tickets and then just wanter into 41o. 41o has a street entrance but can also be accessed via Tickets but no matter: you need a booking all the same, as this is a bar where ppl are not allowed to stand, meaning only those w a booked seat are allowed in.

    I tasted a few bites (amazing) and a few drinks (also amazing) at 41o, then, thanks to a friend who'd snagged a rezy, moved on to Tickets for dinner. More on that as soon as I edit the photos!

  3. So Jason Atherton is opening his Pollen Street Social in London. It'll be right behind the Apple store on Regent Street, on, obviously, Pollen Street.

    Sounds like he's trying to do something very different than what he became known for while working for Ramsay. Does anyone have details? Seems like the opening has been delayed to mid-April, although they're taking table reservations starting March 31...

    Here, the location on Google Maps.

    And here, the chef's official website.

  4. Ochowie, I also tried Dos Cielos, and I was also very impressed. What a restaurant! I loved that the twin chefs were both in the kitchen - they even took my order!! - and I loved that all the amazing breads are baked in-house. I went for lunch with two fellow foodies and had the tasting menu, which was faultless from beginning to end. Very interesting wine pairings, too.

    The full report with dish-by-dish photos is on my blog (here's the link). Although it's in Portuguese, you can just have a look at the amuses, dishes, cheese cart and breads, and it's pretty clear that the Torres brothers aren't messing about...

    I fully recommend Dos Cielos, despite the odd location, in a business district away from the more touristed areas.

  5. spain_el_bulli_caviar.jpg

    O.K., so.... I can finally say I've had dinner at El Bulli. While I was there, I almost had to pinch myself at times to make sure I wasn't dreaming!

    I've come away from the experience changed, in a way. That's how much it impacted me. I tried to transmit what I saw, tasted and felt during the 5-hour long dinner in a video, which I've posted on this link. I really hope it will transport you to that wondrous night, in that wondrous place.

    And I also spoke to Ferran at length after dinner, about the huge changes that are in the plans (last service EVER will be on July 31, 2011). I've got a video of that, too, but the chef is speaking in a mix of French and Spanish....



  6. Hi Chris, the location is Paral lel (near the subway station with that same name) but

    I don't know the street name or anything.

    Albert told a common friend that they'll first open a cocktail bar, as early as Oct or Nov,

    and then the actual "tapas bar" in January 2011....

    I was at El Bulli recently and spoke to Ferran about it and he told me he and Albert are at this very moment very busy brainstorming what they'll have on the menu, doing tests, etc. They will be more involved now, before the place opens, than afterwards, since they won't actually run the place themselves, only supervise.

  7. A few hours and two dozen websites later, an "a-ha moment": e-gullet's own John Talbot has also written a few lines about Yam Tcha, posted on his site back in early 09 (meaningful in case of a new restaurant).

    I love his economy w words:

    "tea pairings (...) are delivered with a mini-lecture by Chiwah Chan, the husband of the chef – one Adeline Grattard who worked at the Aleno-era Scribe + l’Astrance under Barbot.

    I’d asked several friends/critics/etc if this was Asian or fusion or world food and been told it was Asian-inspired and it is."

    A lesson in apt summarizing! :smile:

  8. Meg, I clicked on the link to your Paris by Mouth collaborative site and.... WOW! What a genius idea, and what great content and look! Congrats! The only thing I missed was a search that would allow me simply to type in Yam Tcha...

    Boston, thanks for the feedback. The Hong Kong link, if I'm not mistaken, is that chef Grattard's husband is from there.

    Now, back to YamTcha: yes, I know it is a pain to book a table there for my own experience, as well as several Brazilian friends'. But hey, that never hurt a restaurant, right? Maybe even adds to the "I want to see this for myself" factor.

    Through the Paris by Mouth site I ended up finding an excellent dish-by-dish report with photos, but it's in French. here's the link.

  9. Last weekend, the last tapas were served at Barcelona’s Bar Inopia, co-owned by Albert Adrià – but he’s been too busy working on another project to mourn over the closing (the place will soon reopen under a new name, Lolita).

    Albert is opening with brother Ferran Adrià a restaurant, also in Barcelona. According to Pau Arenós, one of Spain’s top restaurant critics, wrote in Friday’s El Periodico newspaper:

    “Albert in October will cut the ribbon of the new business, in association with Ferran and the Iglesias brothers, Pedro, Borja and Juan Carlos, owners of Rías de Galicia. He says “It’s in the Paral-lel district and still does not have a name. It will measure 300 square meters and have four bars. One will serve fried foods, shellfish and ham. Another, montaditos. The third will be a parrilla and there’s also one for desserts, very important”".

    Arenós, always one to coin new terms, says Albert plans to devote half a year of intensive work to the “hipertapería”.

    Click here to read the full article, in Spanish.

  10. Judging by how famous chef Kylie Kwong is in her native Australia (she's written a series of cookbooks and done a few TV series too, apart from owning the famed Billy Kwong restaurant), I am surprised that I can't seem to find any comprehensive reports of a dinner at Billy Kwong.

    How Chinese is the food? Is it merely Chinese-inspired? Has anyone been, lately?

    I might share with all of you a link to a profile of chef Kwong published in the Sydney Morning Herald.

    And here is a nice set of photos of dishes, posted on Flickr, though they were taken back in 2007....

  11. Fairfranco, pasteis de Belem are a famous variant of Portugal's national pastry, the pastel de nata. Sort of like the donut to Americans: they're EVERYWHERE.

    The pasteis de Belem are said to be so much better, blah blah blah, and so this ancient old pastry shop that makes them - the ONLY one allowed to sell pasteis de Belem, which have a sort of D.O.C. protection - expanded into what looks like a whole block of houses they've joined together to make room for the hordes of tourists that go there to try the famous little custard tarts. The recipe is "a secret", of course, so no amount of Googling will ever tell you if the dough is philo or milles-feuilles. To me, it seems like philo which is then somehow fried or put on a hot plancha to become extra crunchy and golden-brown. Delicious but very very fatty. They sell thousands of them a day.

    But IMO, a fresh, well-made pastel de nata still warm from the oven is just as good, and less greasy.

    This is all, of course, VERY off-topic! :laugh:

    Now, back to Kathryn's account of her Spanish dining tour de force.

  12. Hi Kathryn, I've been reading your posts of your trip to Spain with relish. I'll be in Barcelona in September, so all this info is very useful. Last time I ate at Inopia it had just opened, and I didn't wait one minute. It was amazing, and by the sounds of it, has only gotten better w time!

    Question: when exactly did you go on this trip, or are you still in Spain?

  13. Kropotkin, very interesting topic of study! I am actually researching something that is quite different yet has a slight overlap: a new trend in gastronomy that has been coined neonaturalismo. The return to nature, to one's terroir. The main names associated with this trend are Rene Redzepi of Noma (Denmark), Albert Adria, formerly of El Bulli, and Andoni Aduriz, but several other "tecnoemotional"chefs play with the idea and go very far in researching their terroirs, in an almost philosophical sense.

    To answer one of your questions above, YES, the 2 Roca brothers Joan and Jordi do indeed toy with memory and landscapes in their cuisine. The most obvious example is their unique technique of distilling earth. Yes, earth from their own garden. Google it and you'll see what I mean.

    other than that, you are in good hands in this forum. Rogelio, Pedro and other Spanish egulleters are quite the pros.


  14. First of all, let me just say a HUGE thank you to Victornet, I know how much work it is to upload photos of long dinners, dish-by-dish!

    Victornet, these are so useful, thanks for posting!

    As for El Bulli, guess what.... I got a reservation!!! U-huuuuuuu!

    So I'm flying from Montreal to eat there in September, w a fellow foodie and now we're trying to figure out where to spend the night.

    I did read LesleyC's recommendation:

    If you haven't already made arrangements, I would thoroughly recommend staying in Cadaqués rather than Roses. Cadaqués for us last year was a delightful small town, full of character, while Roses looked like the worst of the Costa Brava as seen on various TV programmes. The Hotel Playa Sol, while basic, was very comfortable and has a lovely pool area - make sure you ask for a room with balcony on the beach side. The local taxi knows how to find El Bulli and will be waiting for you at the end of your meal if required. You could drive yourself, but the road is ... interesting. Cadaqués is only 5km or so from where Salvador Dali used to live, and there are a number of other Dali sites to visit around the area if you're so inclined.

    BUT..... I'm thinking this is too far from Roses. And, frankly, I'm not going there to hang out and enjoy the scenery, I just want a comfortable enough little hotel as close as possible to El BUlli and rafa's.


  15. The history of this restaurant is quite confusing. First, it was La Montee de Lait, on the Plateau. Then the name got shortened and they moved Downtown (baaad idea, the place felt too narrow and claustrophobic, and out-of-place somehow... wrong crowd...), now they've changed the name back to the original and moved back uptown.

    Anyways, Lesley Chesterman explains it much more clearly and reviews the food in this review, published in the Gazette.

  16. Well, Pasteis de Belem, in my mind, is a total tourist trap. Seriously, if you must eat one, buy it at the front shop (the cutest part) and take it back to your hotel....

    As for the top restaurants, apart from Tavares, already mentioned by Paulo,

    my favourite is ALMA, owned by chef Henrique Sa Pessoa. He's an ace, and this restaurant is off the beaten tourist path. Super cool, small, intimate. High-end cuisine, but not tecnoemotional, but actually more in the Marco Pierre White style: precise, contemporary, French-based.

    I also like Panorama at the Sheraton, despite the fact that... it's at the Sheraton. ;) Leonel Pereira is one of the nicest chefs I know.

    Oh, and there's also the posh Eleven restaurant, overlooking a park, great for lazy lunches celebrating a special occasion.

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