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El Bulli 2007 reports


smoz
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Hello, new member here although I have been a long time browser.

I managed to get a reservation at El Bulli thanks in part to advice that I gained from these pages so firstly I would like to say thank you to everyone.

The big day finally came on Wednesday of last week (4th April), I, my wife and four good friends had a wonderful meal, the reservation coincided with my birthday).

I am unable to post any pictures as my camera managed to 'disappear' somewhere on the journey between Cadaques where we stayed for the week and home (London). One of my friends took also took pictures so I will try and get hold of them and post them at a later date.

Our taxi driver arrived at our apartment late but we still arrived at El Bulli with plenty of time to spare. Cadaques apparently only has two regular taxi drivers and only one of them has a people carrier type vehicle. We had already asked to driver to come and collect us after the meal and asked him if he had any idea what time we were likely to finish, he told us not to worry, he would go and visit his friend in Rosas then go to the cinema and would then return and wait for us.

On arrival we were given a tour of the kitchens which were very different from ant restaurant kitchens that I have ever been in before, considerably larger, brighter and much quieter than any others.

We were then lead to our tables and asked a few questions in order to confirm our eating preferences, when I received the initially good news that our booking request had been successful Luis had already asked us about these (six people, one vegetarian who eats fish one omnivore who doesn't eat chocolate or mushrooms, four who will eat anything). We were then advised that there were a couple of dishes which contained ingredients that may not appeal to the more squeamish (more details later) and were given the opportunity to have alternatives.

While this was going on we were brought a welcome drink of Gin Fizz which managed to be both hot and cold at the same time.

What followed was, from what I have gleaned from reading previous reports, a mixture of greatest hits from menus of the last few years along with a number of dishes which I hadn't previously seen reported.

In order not to spoil too many surprises I will just list the dishes from the menu I had without too much in the way of descriptions:

Spherical olives

Mango leaf with tagete flower

Pineapple frits

Beetroot and yoghurt meringue

Salty catanias

Rice and parmesan cookies

"Tile" - curing cheese

Flowers cotton

Tangerine bon-bons, peanut and curry (a dish which delighted one of my friends so much that he chuckled out loud, probably the truest spontaneous sign of appreciation of a dish that I have ever come across)

Raspberries fondant with wasabi and raspberries vinegar (my personal highlight)

Liquid croquette 2006

Horchata truffle

Won-ton

Fried brioche Shanghai (everyone else's highlight)

Parmesan frozen air with muesli

"Quebearn" egg

Raisins of PX with anchovy and cardamon brioche

Tomato soup with virtual iberian ham

Asparagus in different cooking times

Zucchini risotto with curry

Razor clams in vinegar sauce

The sea

Crab Marrakech

Pita of Iberian ham fat and veal bone marrow

Lamb Brains with their own juice

Sheep - the cheese and the wool

Piquillo peppers and banana tatin

Apple

Morphings .......

To drink (between 6) we had a bottle of Manzanilla (Pasada Pastrana), a bottle of Cava (Gran Claustro B.N. 04) then asked to be brought a section of spanish wines which would be suitable for the dishes that were to be served. We were brought two further whites, a red and a desert wine, I know very little about Spanish wines but according to the bill they were: Pardas Xarel LO 05, Augustus Chardonay 05, D. Valdepusa Cabernet 02 and MR 05. All delicious, all paired well with the dishes ther accompanied and all reasonable value (between 20 and 45 euros a bottle).

In summary the meal was exceptional (although that is to be expected) as was the service. This was our first visit and we were not disappointed.

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I forgot to mention that the total bill for food, drinks coffee etc for pur party of 6 came to 1468 euros including IVA, not including service.

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Pita of Iberian ham fat and veal bone marrow

Lamb Brains with their own juice

Lovely stuff. We had lamb brains when we were there too and I enjoyed it very much. My wife declined her portion so I finished it up.

The ham and marrow sounds fantastic too. Can you elaborate at all?

Thanks for sharing your experience.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I'm excited that the 2007 reporting season for elBulli has arrived. Thank you for the fine report, but I wouldn't worry about spoiling surprises. First off, for most people this is unfortunately as close as they are likely to get to Rosas and secondly for those of us who are lucky enough to have been there or will be going there, it still has to be experienceed. I recently found out that I will also be lucky enough to spend my next birthday at elBulli.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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I'm excited that the 2007 reporting season for elBulli has arrived. Thank you for the fine report, but I wouldn't worry about spoiling surprises. First off, for most people this is unfortunately as close as they are likely to get to Rosas and secondly for those of us who are lucky enough to have been there or will be going there, it still has to be experienceed. I recently found out that I will also be lucky enough to spend my next birthday at elBulli.

In that case it's just as well that I didn't mention what they brought out a a surprise for my birthday :biggrin:

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Pita of Iberian ham fat and veal bone marrow

Lamb Brains with their own juice

Lovely stuff. We had lamb brains when we were there too and I enjoyed it very much. My wife declined her portion so I finished it up.

The ham and marrow sounds fantastic too. Can you elaborate at all?

Thanks for sharing your experience.

It is a difficult dish to describe, it was a lot more doughy than you would expect from something that was described as pitta bread, very rich, very much comfort food (beautifully soft, warm and greasy in a good way). This along with the lambs brains was one of the dishes that we were given the option to opt out of, the alternative was made with shitake mushrooms instead of marrow bone.

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Tangerine bon-bons, peanut and curry (a dish which delighted one of my friends so much that he chuckled out loud, probably the truest spontaneous sign of appreciation of a dish that I have ever come across)

Hi smoz, thanks so much for the report.

Were the tangerine bon-bons frozen and were they filled with liquid? Judging by your friend's reaction they sound a bit like a pre-dessert I had there last year (although there was no peanut and curry element).

Also, how were the wontons served? Were they in a bowl of soup and do you remember what was in the filling?

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Tangerine bon-bons, peanut and curry (a dish which delighted one of my friends so much that he chuckled out loud, probably the truest spontaneous sign of appreciation of a dish that I have ever come across)

Hi smoz, thanks so much for the report.

Were the tangerine bon-bons frozen and were they filled with liquid? Judging by your friend's reaction they sound a bit like a pre-dessert I had there last year (although there was no peanut and curry element).

Also, how were the wontons served? Were they in a bowl of soup and do you remember what was in the filling?

Re the Bon-bons, yes they were liquid filled, I imagine that they were frozen, though I think that we didn't eat them quickly enough to appreciate them at their best. This was not the waiting staff's fault, some of our party disappeared to powder their noses and the rest of us waited for them to return, by the time they did the waiters were anxiously urging us to eat them quickly. We were told to eat the peanut curry cookie first followed by the bon-bon, on doing so the tangerine liquid exploded in our mouths.

The wontons were brought to the table in a ham broth (cheese sauce for the veggie) along with a bowl of basil foam, we were urged to transfer the wonton to the bowl that contained the foam then to eat it is one. I cannot recall what the wontons were stuffed with.

I have a couple of questions for the old hands here on egullet:

Which of the dishes that I mentioned are new to you? From lurking here and elsewhere I think i recognised about a third of them.

One of the dishes we had was Quebearn Egg, this was a raw egg yolk served with frozen cream and a honey/vinegar dressing, I imagine that this was supposed to be a deconstructed ice cream or custard. Can anyone tell me what Quebearn means? I have googled the word but but all the results seem to refer back to El Bulli.

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Just got back myself from Europe ... off the plane less than an hour actually. My wife and I were lucky enough to dine at el bulli last wednesday (seated one table away from another NYC egulleter if I'm not mistaken) ... quite a bit of overlap with the menu mentioned above but some other dishes as well. I'll try to post something intelligible in the next couple of days ... needless to say, an unforgettable meal.

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Can anyone tell me what Quebearn means? I have googled the word but but all the results seem to refer back to El Bulli.

Maybe something to do with the French region, Béarn (béarnaise=from Béarn; the sauce=butter, egg and vinegar).

That makes sense - we definitely interpreted this dish to be a deconstructed bearnaise. Another dish on the menu we had (asparagus cooked for four different times) was similarly along the lines of a deconstructed hollandaise.

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Can anyone tell me what Quebearn means? I have googled the word but but all the results seem to refer back to El Bulli.

Maybe something to do with the French region, Béarn (béarnaise=from Béarn; the sauce=butter, egg and vinegar).

That makes sense - we definitely interpreted this dish to be a deconstructed bearnaise. Another dish on the menu we had (asparagus cooked for four different times) was similarly along the lines of a deconstructed hollandaise.

Aha, I see now, so the frozen cream would represent the butter.

Thanks for solving the mystery.

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Rasperries with wasabi sounds intriguing, please tell us more!!

Only two more months to wait. :biggrin:

RM

i´d rather have a full bottle in front of me than a full frontal labotomy! Fred Allen.

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Rasperries with wasabi sounds intriguing, please tell us more!!

Only two more months to wait. :biggrin:

RM

I took a decent photo of this one but not sure how to go about posting it. I think I'm possibly not authorized for uploads. Or I'm just not looking for the attachment button in the right place. All the same, here's what my notes say about the dish:

Raspberries fondant with wasabi and raspberries vinegar: Cathy's favorite dish of the night so far. Staff suggest eating one bite of the raspberry, then take the spoonful of the vinegar, then eat the other half. Beautiful pure raspberry incredibly balanced to stand up to the tiny dot of wasabi. The vinegar brought it all together. I would have enjoyed this dish even more had I taken the wasabi dot with my first bite rather than the second.

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Rasperries with wasabi sounds intriguing, please tell us more!!

Only two more months to wait. :biggrin:

RM

Jimk's description sums it up. A combination of sweet and fruity (raspberry fondant) with hot (wasabi) followed by sweet and sharp (the raspberry vinegar). A good pallet cleanser and possibly my favourite dish of the night.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm going in 2 weeks so this adds to the excitement. Glad to here the good Dr. got a reservation. I was sympathetic to his story on another thread about not getting a seat this year due to hospital scheduling. It's taken me 4-5 years to align the stars and get a reservation. And I just rejiggered my trip due to a grand prix race in Barcelona in 2 weeks (most hotels booked).

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I now have some photos from our visit to El Bulli, my camera managed to disappear while we were away so these are courtesy of a friend of mine.

I am not quite sure how to post pictures here but I am going to give it a try, I have managed to upload them to my Egullet user album.

First up is the Won Ton with basil air:

gallery_53391_4553_325104.jpg

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That appears to have worked, here goes with a few more:

Peanut & Curry with tangerine bon bons, a dish that was so successful it made my friend chuckle out loud.

gallery_53391_4553_132261.jpg

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Parmesan frozen air with muesli:

gallery_53391_4553_84436.jpg

Flowers cotton:

gallery_53391_4553_247892.jpg

Eggs Que Bearn:

gallery_53391_4553_369263.jpg

Beetroot & yoghurt meringue, Pineapple frits, salty cantinas:

gallery_53391_4553_400874.jpg

Last but not least, my favourite, Rasberries fondant wasabi & vinegar

gallery_53391_4553_30312.jpg

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Thanks so much for posting the pics smoz. The bon bon looks quite different from the one I had last year.

I'd be interested to hear more about the raspberry fondant. Was it soft in texture, like a typical fondant? And did you eat it first and then take the spoon of vinegar? It sounds like a very unusual sweet, hot, sour combination of tastes, and possibly something that could be tried out at home? Any suggestions about how to replicate it?

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I just returned from an incredible week of dining in eastern Spain culminating in a birthday dinner last night at elBulli. I am quite pleased to say that creative cooking remains alive and well in Spain and if last night's dinner is any indication, the amazing creativity at elBulli shows no sign of slowing. More to come from what was once again an amazing experience!

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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