Comerç 24 – restoring faith in Molecular gastronomy

This 1 star Michelin is something of a Barcelona gem. Its much more experimental and adventurous in its cooking than most. At the beginning of the meal we were presented with a rack of 4 olive oil bottles to try with the bread. Gold leaf coated Macadamia nuts inside a Sardine tin prepare you for a meal that is not traditional by any measure. One particularly memorable course was the soup. Six tiny flavoured  egg yokes suspended in the soup. When eaten they pop and melt over your tongue. A wonderful effect.

I was going off the idea of going to elBulli in this life time, considering it seems impossible to get a reservation, thinking that perhaps its a bit too out there, but my experience at Comerç 24 made me think there might be something to this Molecular gastronomy after all, so if you can not get to elBulli, Comerç 24 might be a more acceptable alternative.

Marks out of 10

Food 8.5

Service 6 – ( Sommelier 8 )

Ambience 5

 

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Sant Pau, Sant Pol de Mer – a breath of fresh air

To get out of the city for a day, we went to Carme Ruscelleda’s restaurant in Sant Pol de Mer (about 40 minutes on the RENFE train from Barcelona).

 

 

 

 

Interesting location overlooking the sea and the train station.

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Very good, beautiful and amusingly presented food.

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There is also  a rather interesting shrine on the way out, see if you can spot the tribute to the Michelin Man.

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Looking forward to Spains top-ranked female chef opening an outpost in the not too distant future at the new Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Barcelona.

 

UPDATE – Closed

 

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Cinc Sentits (five senses) – you’ll use em all

We stumbled across this Barcelona restaurant 4 years ago. I think it had not been open for long. We had seen some stylish photos of the food on their website (www.cincsentits.com) and thought it looked interesting. Frankly I expected style over substance. When we arrived for lunch the long room was empty but for one table. Not a good sign I thought.

The young lady who acted as waitress and sommelier brought us a shot glass with some strange coloured layers and explained we should drink it in one go. Well….it turned out be the start of a great culinary experience that truly wowed us.

When a dish uses ingredients that you would normally not be keen on (lemon and blue cheese in my case) and transforms them into memorable moments that you still talk about years later, then you know you have a very special chef in the kitchen.

We left on a high. Thanking the waitress for a wonderful lunch and using my sixth sense stated that they should have a Michelin star. Maybe next year she replied modestly.

Well it took a few more years and now they have their first Michelin star.

So we made a return visit in May this year and I suspect they will not have too long to wait for a second star.

The food and matching wines were the best I think I have had any where. Some of the combinations were simply sublime. The only let down was the oxtail course which was a replacement for the pork belly. Other than that I had a near perfect lunch.

We plan to return again in September as this is one restaurant that deserves all the accolades it gets.

Marks out of 10

Food 9

Service 8

Ambience 8

 

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Cuines Santa Caterina – Grupo Tragaluz goes to the market

Cuines Santa Caterina is housed in the Mercat Santa Caterina , it is great for an informal lunch. You can not book, so get there as soon as you can after it opens at 1:00 to guarantee getting a seat.

They have an English version of their menu, which is worth asking for as the menu layout is a bit odd.

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It is probably a bit more expensive than a lot of the lunch options in Barcelona, but it’s all about quality and they deliver on that with fresh market ingredients.

I highly recommend the Catalan sausage with foie gras
I highly recommend the Catalan sausage with foie gras

It is part of the Grupo Tragaluz who really know the restaurant business. The other restaurants in the group are always good standbys, and their flag ship Michelin stared restaurant Moo in the Hotel Omm is well worth a visit, for both food and people watching.

Marks out 10

Food 6.5

Service 5.5

Ambience 6

 

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Tram Tram – off the beaten track

Tram Tram is situated in the lovely Sarrià area of Barcelona.  Take the FGC to Sarrià (Nuria exit),  it just takes 10 mins on an air conditioned train from Pl Catalunya to get to Sarrià.

See video of the square in Sarria :-

We had been trying to get to Tram Tram for a number of years but it was always closed when we passed. From its name we expected it to be a casual walk in venue. Much to my surprise when we did get a booking,  it was a much more up market affair.

It has several dinning areas, a small room at the front, a larger room at the back, a private room and a small courtyard.  The food is of a high standard and the service is efficient and friendly. That same year we visited the 3 Michelin Star Sant Pau and I can tell you that I actually enjoyed my meal more here.

It has now become a regular venue for us. If it wasn’t for the competition from Cinc Sentits and Comerc 24 this year then this would be my number one in Barcelona. No Michelin star….just a hidden gem. It’s also superb value for money.

Marks out of 10

Food 7.5

Service 6

Ambience 6.5

 

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El Jardí – see if you can find it!

El Jardí is not the easiest place to find, it is in the grounds of the Hospital de la Santa Creu/next to the Massana Art school in El Raval.

It’s an open air bar that does pretty basic meals/snacks. It is popular with students, but be warned the area around it can be a bit edgy .

See video of Buskers at El Jardi from a few years ago:-

We started chilling out here when it was little more than a few tables and a portable loo. Its grown up a bit since then. You may need to wait for a table when its busy, but it’s worth a short wait, table turn around is not too bad.

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Marks out of 10

Food  4

Service 4

Ambience 7

 

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