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El Bulli 2010


ajnicholls
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@jeroen_kb I'm in the same boat as you. I have rejections for some requests and none more for others.

What I have noticed though is that rejections go out before acceptances, so Tthat might give us the best indication for where they are in the process. Has anyone succeeded in scoring a reservation for 2010 yet??

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How comes a wildly-oversubscribed restaurant loses 500,000 euros a year ? It should be able to charge enough to make a healthy profit, no ? Why does it not open for more months each year so that more money comes in and takes in into profit ? What is it about the dynamics of running a restaurant am I missing here which explains the losses ?

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My understanding is that the restaurant isn't meant to make a profit. The real money is in his speaking engagements and book deals. The restaurant is part PR machine and part gallery. "[T]he dynamics of running a restaurant" don't enter into the conversation for El Bulli. Surely he could charge more and stay open year round, but that assumes his goal is to maximize the profit from the restaurant. Staying open year round (or, at all, I guess, given his announcement that the restaurant is closing for good) wouldn't allow him the time/energy to innovate and teach in the way or to the level he wants.

Edited by KD1191 (log)

True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

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So now the latest is that it won't be closing for good:

According to an article in Spanish newspaper El Universo, Ferran Adria will not in fact be closing El Bulli, as The New York Times reported last week. Adria plans to stick with the 2012-2014 break he announced at last months Madrid Fusion; back to business after that. Optimists who hope to land a reservation someway, somehow in the next couple of years can breathe easy.

http://www.eluniverso.com/2010/02/15/1/1378/bulli-volvera-funcionar.html?p=1354&m=719

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How comes a wildly-oversubscribed restaurant loses 500,000 euros a year ? It should be able to charge enough to make a healthy profit, no ? Why does it not open for more months each year so that more money comes in and takes in into profit ? What is it about the dynamics of running a restaurant am I missing here which explains the losses ?

Because they don't try to get every penny out of the customer.

They could charge far more but they choose not to.

The prices the set aren't so high that they exclude all but the richest.

And they choose to spend more time developing, experimenting and coming up with new things than turning out the food, so it's only open 6 months a year. It's a choice.

When i went a few years ago it was €150/£100 for the 27 odd courses which compares very favourably with London, they filled my cava about 6 times and charged me once, and they wine they recommended from that region was €30

It was brilliant

i've read this email back and realised what a pretentious gimp i sound for which i apologise.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I have no idea... I didn't send in multiple requests - only 1 email saying that we'd be in the area for a few days near the beginning of their season, but that if those days weren't available we would make a special trip at any time during the year... other than that, I did not mention any special occasions or anything... I sent in my request on the 2nd of January.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

I am off to the Girona region for holidays this year at the beginning of August. As I don't have a reservation at all, I wondered what people's experiences are of getting last minute cancellation slots as I thought I might try within the 10 day confirmation period of when I will be there or alternatively ringing up on spec once I am in Spain.

Not the end of the world, as I am already booked in for El Celler de Can Roca..... ;-)

Oh, and I have a fussy 7 year old in tow - will they cope with that while serving us the degustacion menu?

Gav

"A man tired of London..should move to Essex!"

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm pleased to be the first to post on the 2010 season, though I'm going to concentrate on the photos rather than a lot of description. I was really lucky to get in this year. After receiving my annual rejection (with the exception of 2007, which was the greatest meal of my life) my best friend, who has pretty good contacts in the art and to a lesser degree food worlds in Spain, requested a table for the period after a meeting he had in Barcelona the opening week of the season. We were told we were at the top of the list for cancellations, and one came through a week or so later. The VIP nature of the reservation yielded a meal of 40 elements (as opposed to 30 last time) and some special face time with the chef after the meal. Instead of one cocktail-like starter, there were several at the start. Needless to say the meal rocked.

If I were to make a general observation about the differences between the two meals it would be: 1. Last time freeze drying was a dominant technique and this time freezing was. This may have been a result of us getting extra 'frozen' snacks towards the beginning of the meal. 2. The meal was a month later than my 2007 dinner. At that time we had several dishes (peas with artichokes puree and asparagus in different cooking times)that depended on super fresh young spring vegetables which I believe were only briefly on the menu. Those remain special taste memories.

One of the first memorable dishes was 'handkerchief'. handkerchief.jpg

It was sort of a reconfigured corn snack - salty, crunchy, and tasty. We ran into some other El Bulli eaters at Salvador Dali's house museum in Port Lligat the next day and they were still talking about this treat.

'strawberry' was one of the many frozen snacks. Great concentrated strawberry flavor.

strawbery.jpg

One of the highlights was the gorgonzola ball. I read somewhere (probably the 'Food for Thought' book) that a chef who had worked at Moto in Chicago got them excited about creating ballon like dishes in 2008. In this case the sphere was deeply flavorful, reminding me more of a really complex yogurt than gorgonzola.

gorgonzola globe 1.jpg

gorgonzola globe 2.jpg

There is not much I can say about this shrimp dish that will express how flavorful it was. The photo is a bit shaky. My friend had eaten at Extaberri several times during a long stay in Bilbao, frequently extolling the perfect shrimp there. This was probably his favorite dish of the evening.

shrimp.jpg

Freeze drying remained alive and well in the tomato busquit.

tomato biscuit.jpg

Rounding off the 'snack' portion of the meal, after which we went inside and no longer had as much natural light for the photos, was a trio of mimetics peanuts, mandarine seeds, and the central dish which I'm not sure if it was called 'american' (more likely) or 'beetroot and yoghurt meringue' ( which I think I did not photograph, as I'm not partial to beets). I can't sommon up a detailed recollection of it, but it was good. The 'peanuts' were intensely peanutty and soft and gooey if you did not eat them very rapidly - and greatly enjoyed. The mandarine was a perfectly contrasting acidic taste.

3 snacks.jpg

Soon after this we went inside for the central portion of the meal, and for red wine drinking. I'll get to that in another post.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Since the earlier report has garnered no feedback, I'll just quickly post more images from the meal for those who might be interested:

flower nectar.jpg

flower nectar

tea buscuit.jpg

tea buscuit

ham and ginger.jpg

joselito ham and ginger canape

tartar of marrow.jpg

tartar of marrow

montjoi lentils.jpg

Montjoi lentils

prawn two firings.jpg

prawn two firings

mimetic almond.jpg

mimetic almond

pinenut shabu shabu.jpg

pinenut shabu-shabu

soya milk with soya.jpg

soya milk with soya

asparagus with miso.jpg

asparagus with miso

miso soup.jpg

miso soup

This brings us into the full-on savory portion of the meal, which I'll post later.

Edited by victornet (log)
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Thanks for posting these, keep them coming! I was lucky enough to go to El Bulli last year, and it's interesting to see that many of your dishes are an evolution of some that I had, e.g. I had a coconut & curry frozen sphere rather than gorgonzola. It'll be interesting to hear your thoughts on these dishes as well!

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Thanks so much for posting these pictures! My wife and I were lucky enough to be there a few weeks ago, and your menu seemed very similar to ours - but we had a lot more "cocktails" in the beginning - about 5 or so, I think... but we didn't get some of the savory courses you had - we didn't get the soya dish, or the asparagus dish. On the previous post, the pink one in the middle was called "American" which I think really should of been "Americano" which is the name of a cocktail made with campari - which is why it was pink, and slightly bitter.

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