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SBonner

Comerç 24

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We ate lunch at Commerc 24 this past week. Our experience echos those of paulbrussel and Silly. Good lunch, good service, but below expectation. The food wasnt as unusual as I expected. I thought some of the courses would have been better presented at different temperatures, such as Silly mentioned above with his Sepia course. There were only 3 other customers at the lunch service, and they all were English speaking and also taking photos of the food.

We had the festival menu, with 8 waves of food that amounted to about 13 different dishes. Bruce and Silly gave such wonderful descriptions above, and I wont be able to do the food the same justice, so Ill just highlight a few of our favorite mini-courses:

2nd wave:

dish 1 - Thyme Soup with an egg foam and a parmesean crisp on the side. Bite the crisp, then sip the soup.

dish 2 - Artichoke heart topped with a quail egg and a black truffle sauce.

4th wave:

dish 1 - Warm skewers with a snail and Jamon, on pumpkin puree

5th wave:

dish 2 - Mini squids (chipirones, I think) on a bed of risotto-like black rice.

7th wave:

Cheese Course. I dont remember the cheeses .. but they were interesting.

8th wave:

The dessert course was pretty underwhelming, but one of the bites was a very enjoyable lemon-ginger marshmallow sweet.

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"Overall it was a good lunch, but given all the rave about Comerç 24 it fell a bit below my expectations. The service was excellent, and more than half of tables were busy."

Exactly my impression. The rave is, I think only because it is the most look-a-like of elBulli in BCN.

We had dinner here on 22 April and we really enjoyed it. It is probably important to mention that we haven't been to elBulli so were maybe more easily impressed. That said, the Festival menu was 47 euro which I consider to be incredible value.

It sounds like we had the same menu as baw on an earlier post.

Wave 1

The snacks were interesting, a bit frivolous perhaps, but did a good job 'setting the stage': cornets of ground popcorn with curry, Japanese flavoured puffed wheat, crisps with vinegar foam/emulsion, olives and capers.

Wave 2

The thyme soup with parmesan and egg white foam was a tantalising combination of taste and texture. The big surprise is how the flavour of the parmesan hits you at the end of the soup, and the egg foam is like an ethereal, moist souffle.

This was followed by artichoke hearts, hollowed out and filled with a barely warmed quail egg, with a gelatine (?) type disc on top hiding the egg. The disc didin't have much taste, but the truffle sauce served sparsley around the food was appropriately pungent.

The snails, Jabago jam and pumpkin was served with the snail (jellyish and garlicky) on a skewer on top of pureed pumkin, with a piece of ham on top of each skewer, so that it initially looked a bit like 3 lollipops.

Wave 3

The tuna pizza sashimi was very simple, but really refreshing. The base was a very thin sesame crisp and the tuna was thinly sliced with just enough wasabi to give it a kick. Not rocket science I know, but this was incredibly good.

Cod with Xamfaina was served next. I am not familiar with Xamfaina, but it appeared to be a mirepoix of vegetables which were served in mounds on ovals of cod. Another good dish, and yes, not particularly experimental.

Wave 4

The black rice with baby squid was a wonderful example of fine cooking. A typical Catalan dish I know, and not experimental; but the unctuous, flavoursome, risotto style rice (plenty of butter) and the soft creaminess of 4 barely cooked baby squid made this particularly successful. Very, very sensual, and a fair sized portion too.

Then back to the more experimental food with cuttlefish with mentaiko. The finely sliced cuttlefish seemed like sashimi, but may have been lightly cooked. This was toppped with a piped cylinder of cod's roe foam which was light and subtle.

Wave 5

Next was Royale Hare, another Catalan special, but this time with a twist: a cylinder of foie foam on top. The gently shredded hare, in what seemed to be a red wine base was robust and rustic. It also had chocolate in the sauce, which I know is a Catalan thing, but don't know if it is normally used in this particular dish. The contrast of the delicate foie foam was clever, although, as mentioned earlier by Silly, I wasn't sure about the temperature, the foam seemed a bit too cold against this earthy dish.

Wave 6

The cheese course was 4 excellent cheeses with quince dice. Sorry, I don't know the names of them, only that one was made from a mix of cow, sheep and goat's milk which I presume (from the info on the Spanish Cheeses thread) is Picos de Europa, sometimes known as Valdeon.

Wave 7

A citric salad in virgin olive oil followed. This was simple and refreshing, really moire of a palate cleanser than a dessert. Segments of pink grepefruit, orange and lemon (which I think had previously been marinated in brown sugar) were served in EVOO with slivers of mint.

The meal was finished off with 2 sweet tapas: one orange and one mocha, not earth shattering, but tasty.

The restaurant was full (apart from the bar which had maybe 3 people), and we were there for nearly 3 hours. From a service point of view, things were a bit sluggish at the beginning, and it took some time to get the menu (although we had been propped up with really good bread, extra virgin olive oil and salt while we waited). There was a press table of about 8 people behind us and this may have been responsible for the slow start. That said, once they were out of the blocks, the service was helpful, attentive and well paced.

The wine waiter was happy to make affordable recommendations: Lusco 2003 for 20 euro which was a fresh, crisp, white Albarino and Clos Valmanya 2002 for 40 euro which was a gutsy, full bodied, red, which I think might have been from Catalunya and was particularly good with the hare.

So yes, I would really rate this restaurant, and within its price bracket, it offers outstanding value (although Can Roca tops it on value). The menu was well balanced and I think the fact that it was not out and out experimental shows a certain maturity and confidence which resulted in a well balanced tasting menu. Carles Abellan also appeared to be an extremely modest, affable type of guy. We were chatting to him as we left and only realised who he was when he went to sit down to be interviewed.


Edited by Corinna Dunne (log)

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See Here for previous reviews of Comerc 24. I personally would disagree with Bond Girl. I agree that it is experimental food heavily influenced by El Bulli (Carlos Abellan spent several yeas there) but in my opinion it was an enjoyable meal because the experiments were exciting taste wise as well.

Having now dined at both I can't help but think how very very very different EB and C24 are. The first thing to strick me was the almost cold service at C24.

I'm going to think about the food and post again.

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Having now dined at both I can't help but think how very very very different EB and C24 are. The first thing to strick me was the almost cold service at C24.

I recently heard someone working at Comerç 24 talk about how several current dishes come from Ferran Adria's work in the mid to late 90's. It wouldn't be surprising, since Abella used to work with Adria. This was part of a conversation I was only half into, so I couldn't get more details. Anyone having dined at Abella's restaurant and with good knowledge of the ElBulli books can comment on this? Unfortunately I don't have the books.

SD


We''ve opened Pazzta 920, a fresh pasta stall in the Boqueria Market. follow the thread here.

My blog, the Adventures of A Silly Disciple.

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