Girona, December 2016 – Mr. King and I could have stayed in New York for our wedding anniversary, but decided to depart a day earlier for Barcelona so that we could spend our special day at the legendary Michelin 3-star restaurant, El Celler de Can Roca. Our last visit was less than 10 months ago (click here to read), and we were extremely impressed by the culinary innovations of the Roca Brothers (chefs & sommelier).
The lunch and dinner menus are the same. Instead of choosing the more extensive “Feast” menu, we decided on the “Classic” which comprised 8 courses, including most of the restaurant’s signature dishes.
Even before the first course was served, we were presented with a succession of dainty snacks.
Start with The World – we savored the flavors from Thailand, Japan, China, Peru and Korea with these beautifully presented canapés.
Memories of a bar in the suburbs of Girona – Roca brothers’ creations that pay tribute to their favorite tapas – breaded squid, kidneys with Sherry, pigeon bobon, salt cod with spinach & pinenuts, Mugwort, vanilla and gentiana.
Green Olive’s ice cream – This house signature is always a welcome sight, and very refreshing.
Starfish – The gorgeous and delicious starfish was made of salmon roe on a crisp.
Coral : escabeche mussels , seabream ceviche
Truffle bonbon & truffled brioche – These two were a rather clever contrast. The bonbon was made of black truffle while the brioche was made from tartufo bianco de alba (white truffle from Alba).
After sampling the amuse bouche, Mr. King and I agreed that this trip was already worthwhile! We anxiously waited to taste the Classic menu.
Apple’s timbale and duck liver with vanilla oil – Since it was mid-December, this dish suited the festive mood perfectly.
Prawn marinated with rice vinegar – prawn’s head sauce, crispy prawn legs, seaweed veloute and phytoplankton. Both Mr. King and I recalled this prawn from our last visit, and it was still as spectacular. The “gamba” (prawn) is a special one from this region, Gambas de Palamos, and known for its beautiful red colour, sweetness and firmness.
Sole with olive oil, fennel, bergamot, orange, pine nuts and green olives – This was one of the exceptional dishes in this beautiful meal. I tried the perfectly cooked sole (sous vite /in a warm water bath) with the 5 sauces individually, and each bite was a fresh experience, wonderfully flavored from the emulsions.
Salt cod pot-au-feu, potato gnocchi, cabbage and brandade terrine, cod tripe.
Iberian suckling pig a la Rioja: pear with cinnamon, blueberry with vanilla, orange with clove and liquorice with cocoa – This was a favorite for both Mr. King and me. The meat was juicy and extremely tender, while the skin was crispy, and accompanied with a medley of sauces that distinguished Juan Roca’s suckling pig from the traditional style of Spain’s national dish.
Now, for the desserts…I couldn’t wait to see and taste the creations of Chef Jordi Roca (voted the World’s Best Pastry Chef). Dessert challenges the chef to pack aesthetics and culinary skills into one neat little package, and Chef Jordi never disappoints.
A fragrance adapted: Miracle by Lancome – ginger cream, grapefruit granite, a sorbet of lychee, roses, violets and pink pepper.
On my previous visit, I had Perfume – also based on a fragrance that Chef Jordi had custom-blended for Can Roca, but Miracle by Lancome was a departure from his previous creation. Although both desserts shared common ingredients such as rose and the sweet aroma, the tastes and textures were completely different.
Vanilla, liquorice, caramel and black olives – Another playful dessert where the plate on the left was a deconstructed version of that on the right.
And that was the end…so we thought and asked for our bill. Our waitress asked us to wait a little while longer. Am I glad we did !
I had mentioned to our waitress that my favorite dessert at El Celler de Can Roca was The Cloud (or known as Lactic), but was disappointed that it wasn’t on the Classic menu. She was so attentive and requested the pastry chef to make The Cloud for me.
The Cloud – Milk caramel, sheep’s milk ice cream, sheep’s milk curd cheese foam, sheep’s milk yoghurt and milk cloud. Aside from setting down this dreamy dessert, the waitress also put down a smart phone on our table. She then explained that this is a new invention of Chef Jordi. Whenever the phone detects The Cloud, sheeps will appear on screen. Talk about marriage between gastronomy and technology…Chef Jordi never ceases to amaze!
Another wonderful experience at El Celler de Can Roca (#1 – World’s 50 Best Restaurants)!
All photos were taken by Mrs. King.