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Sevilla restaurants and elbullihotel?


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Title says the most, but going there for 5 days from the 16th of April for a congress, but plan on using a car to be able to do some explorations.

Some years ago back in -92 I tried Egana Oriza and thought i very good. I've searched throug egullet topics, but no really recent info regarding restaurants and in particularly regarding the one at ElBulli hotel.

Generally I love both the modern and solid traditional approaches in Spanish cooking, and I'm a sucker for a well selected wine list without extreme mark ups..

Any updates or other tips?

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recent info regarding restaurants and in particularly regarding the one at ElBulli hotel.

The problem for us with la Hacienda Benazuza in Salucar la Mayor (El Bulli hotel/restaurant) is that they only serve dinner from Spring to summer and it is 18 kms from Sevilla. Don't like the idea of driving late at night after a big dinner with wine. About an hour's drive South of Sevilla is Sanlucar de Barrameda and in the port there are two highly recommended restaurants for seafood: Mirador Donana (we ate there last Spring-very good) and El Bigote just next door.

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Just back from a lovely break at Benazuza.Dinner was very much a greatest hits from Bulli experience but perhaps without the lightness of touch of the originals, still a great meal. Breakfast was the real highlight though, so good I hard remember touching a thing for lunch. Despite what I have read elsewhere the staff at benazuza couldn't have been more helpful and the wine list had some real bargains on it but unfortunately i think I had some of the last bottles.

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  • 2 years later...

Just got back from the ElBulli Hotel and ate at the restaurant once Al carte and the second time the tasting menu, I also sampled the tasting breakfast.

It was out of season so not all the bars/restaurants were open or had reduced opening times. However the hotel and restaurant staff were excellent and did their best to accommodate any request and make our stay pleasant.

1. A La Carte

Although you order 3 courses there is a vast array of extra snacks, nibbles and drinks that come with it. My partner ordered everything I wanted so rather than order the same I went for a second choice. Highlights were the "Olive", Crazy Salad, Tandoori Chicken wings with oyster cream and Alphabet Soup. The one failure was scallop with milk skin and truffle - For me the milk skin did not work and I could not taste the truffle - scallops were cooked to perfection.

We let the sommelier chose the wine, I can’t recall what it was but it was red, quite oaked but not that much tannin – it worked well with the variety of dishes we ate. Bold enough to stand up to some of the flavours but light enough to not swamp some of the others.

The only criticism of the meal was it seemed rushed, we sat down ordered and things came at us Bang, Bang, Bang so you were eating one thing while they were describing another. I did mention this before we departed and they said they would try to slow things down for the next night but there would be even more courses and so to get there at 8:30 prompt so they could take things as slow as possible. This point makes me think that the restaurant should open an hour earlier so the food could be fully appreciated although this would of course put the cost up €230 with wine for 2.

2. Breakfast

While a 15 course breakfast may sound like a bit of a marathon first thing in the morning, but on holiday it was a very pleasant experience although I couldn’t face it everyday. It included (I may not be able to remember everything):-

- A selection freshly baked pastry's .

- Coffee or Tea or Chocolate

- Juices - Pineapple juice with coconut, Peach with Cinnamon, Apple and ?????

- Toast with cheese butter, toffee butter, mango marmalade and ????? marmalade

- Bread

- Mango in mango juice,

- Strawberry with mint and basil.

- Small portion of Tiramasu in a glass

- A selection of salty things we went for omelette's with Iberian ham & "Boiled Egg with truffle" this was a deconstruction and tasted wonderful

3. Tasting Menu €100 per person + wine.

We did this with two friends who we were going to stay with for the rest of the week.

The menu was (repeats from the previous night have a * next to them):-

Rose Tea with peach foam and honey pearls 2005

THE SNACKS

Spherical Olive 2005 *

Fried baby fish with lemon 2005 *

Almonds in tempura with coconut and curry 2006 *

Peanuts praline and honey bread 2003

Parmesan cheese cornet 2001

3D ras el Hanout 2003

Sweet corn powder with lime pearls 2003

Iberian ham brioche 2006 *

Pickles from Seville 2006

Pork rind with menthol 2005

Quail egg with bread 2000

Strawbery & Campari & Sansho Pepper 2000

Parmesan cheese bread. 2003

Warm potato foam with truffle oil 1998

THE TAPAS

Baby shrimps omelette with it’s consommé 2006

White asparagus with “mollet” egg and ham 2003

Sardines covered in bread with deconstructed “picada” 2000

Quail thigh in soya sauce 1987

THE DISHES

Crab “chatka” with tartar sauce 2005

Hake fish with cassis and eucalyptus 1988

Tandoori chicken wings with oyster cream 2005 * (but I picked this as a main the previous night)

ADVANCE DESERT

2 metres of parmesan cheese spaghetti 2003

THE DESERTS

Lemon skin sorbet with berries pure 2005

Chocolate Stair 1995 * (My partner picked this for desert the previous night)

Home made nougats and chocolates.

Overall everything was liked but there were some dishes that stood out in good and bad ways:-

The only dish that was universally not liked was “White asparagus with “mollet” egg and ham” this was white asparagus covered in ham fat in a slightly sweet sauce – the texture was unpleasant and the taste bland however it came with a cup of “asparagus water” which was divine.

The oddest dish was “Pork rind with menthol 2005” or as I called it pork scratchings with Benylin but it strangely worked.

“Tandoori chicken wings with oyster cream 2005” this was the dish that intrigued me the most. It was small rectangles (1.5cm by 1cm) of chicken with skin on top. The best way to describe it was – well you know all the small muscles in a chicken wing, that are tender but have great taste well these had been taken off (cooked) chicken wings and then bound together (transaminase or methyl cellulose) and then chicken skin placed and bound on top (transaminase) and then cooked on a hot pan (or stone to make it Tandoori” . The chicken flavour was intense and melt in the mouth.

The other outstanding dish was “Quail egg with bread 2000” this was a liquid quail yolk surrounded by a crust of toasted bread. We all raved about this even the person who does not like eggs.

Again I felt that the food was rushed, to be fair not to extent of the night before and the meal was better paced but this meant that we’d had 5 or 6 snacks before the wine arrived. This is no criticism of the staff who were exemplary but confirmed my belief that the restaurant should open earlier.

Some of the customers seemed to not be interested , we (and many others) were there for the food. And some dishes had us laughing, not liking, going “Wow” but enjoying the experience. However (and I feel this about many Michelin stared restaurants) some were there not for the food/experience but because it was Michelin stared. And so were "Po Faced" and just going through the motions. That said, you can't dictate who is in a restaurant and perhaps while to me/us they looked bored perhaps they will rave about it - who am I to dictate how anyone should react to a meal.

4. Other food.

The other restaurant at the hotel had reduced opening hours, however from the menu mainly simple tapas – cheese, ham chorizo (all A1 quality) and although some more substantial dishes were on offer (Fried fish, Steak etc) it was not somewhere I would go for an evening meal.

Brilliant for a late lunch/snack after the breakfast before a meal at the main restaurant. And if works if you stay at the hotel for a couple of nights, however as much as I loved the main restaurant if I stayed there for a week I could not eat there every night. This could be an issue if you can’t drive or are there for a long conference. However I guess that this is because it was November and more options are available at the hotel and village when in season.

Overall rating – Excellent.

The place is beautiful, great food, friendly staff and a taste of “El Bulli” and a definite option to consider if you’ve been rejected from the 2007 reservations.

We went off season as it was for my partners birthday, to see friends who had moved just outside Seville so the hotel wasn’t in full operating mode (E.g. Pool/Restaurants not open) but it had a better rate. I’m hoping to spend some time there again, when the sun is shining my guess is that my rating will go from “Excellent” to “Perfect”.

Edited by ermintrude (log)

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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  • 4 weeks later...

ermintrude

thanks for the lovely post

I'm spending christmas in seville and have booked el bulli - I was worried that it would be a sad imitation of the other place - bit it sounds truly wonderful. I’m now very very excited

cheers

Tony

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  • 1 month later...

Dec 23rd – dinner – no particular order - apologies for delay in posting

Water menu served in chilled “vase” – a bit silly, really

Caramelised nuts - 3 different nuts done 3 different ways – liquorice ones particularly nice

Tiny fried fish – very crispy – served in little paper cornets

Cocktail – lots of fruit juice, small perfectly diced fruit & a strong dash of potent alcohol of what I am not sure what. Everyone loved this

Bead “pillow” – puffed finger of bread with Parma ham atop

Packed of pine nuts – not sure how they were “done” – but flavour was certainly pronounced

Hazelnut parfait ball rolled in seeds – sumptuous but a bit at odds at the start of the meal

Foie gras with balsamic – little squares held between wafers of thin crispy bread – astonishingly creamy and moreish

Avocado puree within a thin corn tube/rolled tuile – another major hit with everyone

Mini-salad - looked a bit like a miniature birds nest made of a few tiny leaves – the vinaigrette was held in a tiny bubble which split open when being eaten

Small tomato with caramelised sugar coating

Vanilla jelly cube with small indent – liquid vanilla inside (but it was a lot more interesting and flavoursome than that description gives)

Parmesan stick of bread – a little “so what” & lost in the surrounding food melee

Banana slices wrapped in parma ham

Some code skin (or was it pork skin) crisps

Peanut butter in a tube which you squeezed onto some toast then sprinkled with salt & peanut crumbs – silly but the best peanut better I’ve ever eaten

Potato foam doused in truffle oil served in a martini glass – I could have eaten a very, very large bucket of this

Sardines & toast – the toast was cooked which in turn cooked the fish (as seen recently in Hoxton place (Bacchus) – but here it was sublime

White asparagus wrapped in the fat from Parma ham – accompanied with pure egg sauce – the only dish no one liked. It also came with a cup of essence of asparagus – couldn’t help thinking: my piss is so going to smell awful after this

Cream corn custard with cubes of foie gras & truffle consommé – fantastic – only little quibble: the foie gras a little bit fridge cold

Langoustines in olive oil soup – lang’ done sous vide then crisped; the olive oil soup baffled everyone – it was served at a angle i.e. the surface was at an incline to the floor – plus being hot we couldn’t figure out how it kept this magical defiance of gravity (seaweed, apparently)

More langoustine but with rice pasta tubes – only when we saw the dish that the waitress actually meant intestine not langoustine (tripe?). Only I ate this but mainly because the accompanying sauce gave you the deeply satisfying sticky lips. The white pasta tubes - a joke on the intestine shape.

Roast hake with beetroot ravioli filled with pistachio – came with vanilla mayonnaise, beetroot puree & pistachio puree – the combination of beetroot & pistachios was simply stunning. Also one of the most beautiful dishes with contrasts of dark & light

Pigeon breast with salad and white asparagus pieces covered in sesame. Delicious sauce.

2m of parmesan spaghetti – you have to eat in one slurp – had everyone in stitches

Lemon sorbet with blackberries - very refreshing

Deconstructed tiramisu – desserts aren’t my strong point – the only thing to note was that the coffee part was a half-disc of frozen coffee essence

Two types of nougat plus a chocolate truffle which captured the very essence of Christmas in a couple of bites

Plus a couple other dishes but my memory fails me.

I was very worried that this would be a poor cousin to the Roses restaurant – but NO! This was full on 3* cooking and service. Easily one of the best meals I’ve ever had. Breathtakingly super service. If you really want to experience el bulli – I really do recommend this place – OK the recipes may be from a year or two ago but so what with at cooking at this level. Plus - Seville is a lovely town.

Also – took mum – she’s 70. I was extremely worried that she’s hate the food, wouldn’t survive the onslaught and give up after an hour. We did coax/prep her saying she didn’t have to eat anything & just go with the flow. To my delight – she kept up with us – all the way. Really wasn’t expecting that

I also got to visit the kitchen – they couldn’t have been more helpful and would have indulged me more if there wasn’t the language barrier.

GO!

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