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Image 1: The restaurant has moved to this location shortly after my last visit. It is obvious from this new look that the Roca brothers have taken their cuisine to another level.
Image 2: At the entrance is a garden of a 100-year old brick house with an extension on the side to create a contemporary triangular dining area enclosing a glass atrium of trees. The architecture here is as impressive as the cooking - a place where tradition meets innovation.
Image 3: www.cellercanroca.com The Roca brothers (Joan, Josep, and Jordi)
Feast (12-course): €145 Tasting (7-course): €115 Classic (4-course): €95
Closed on Sunday and Monday, two weeks in July and Christmas period.
Image 4: We were very late and were actually the last group to arrive, but not only didn't they rush us into the dining room, Josep even took us on a journey to his five favourite wine regions – all in his cellar!
He created five multi-sensory wine stations where you could touch, listen, see, and taste the soul of each region!
Upon stepping into each station, we were surrounded by music and video expressing Josep's interpretation about the wine of that region.
Then there was an object representing his feeling about the wine.
A world full of Josep's passion about wine!
Image 9: The anxiety and stress of driving directly from the airport in such a rush completely melted away after our multi-sensory tour of the wine cellar!! A truly remarkable experience!
Image 10: Josep then led us right into the kitchen to meet his brothers – Joan, the brain of this “emotional cuisine” and Jordi, one of the world’s most innovative dessert chefs.
Image 11: Finally, into the beautiful dining area where they already prepared a glass of cava for each of us.
Image 12: Even before the food, we were already seduced by their generous warm welcome!
Image 13: Whoa, our server then pushed over not a wine cart, but a wine list cart! The biggest wine menu I have seen, literally!
Image 14: Oh my god, an olive tree! What an eye-opening introduction! An interactive treat requiring our own hand-picking of the caramelised olives.
This is the first time ever I fell in love with olives!
Haha, the olive hook had their logo -- “triple R” of course!
They then brought us Bellini bonbons which burst inside our mouth! Sensational!
Followed by a thin chicken potato chip packed with intense flavour!
Looked like it was just caught from the sea - Seaweed and Anchovy bone cracker!
Image 20: Wow, the amuse bouche continued! A delicate truffle brioche with consommé! This soft brioche with a moist centre completely saturated my palate with heavenly black truffle!
And one last set of tasters…
Image 22: Pigeon liver parfait - a chocolate coated pigeon liver mousse. Weird combination? Not at all, the bitter sweetness married perfectly with the airy liver mousse!
Image 23: Caviar omelette on the spoon. It was semi-cooked egg with caviar underneath! We couldn’t believe that the meal had not started yet but our palate was already so well stimulated by all these amuse bouche! What a spectacular opening scene!
A 3-star restaurant is never weak on bread, and Can Roca is no exception! Apricot nut, tomato brioche, five-grain, etc. etc.
A complex looking first course!
Image 26: Starting from the left, sherry-steamed oyster with actual steam coming up underneath! A nice aroma to go along with the moist oyster!
SEE VIDEO HERE
Image 27: A rich creamy oyster velouté in the middle followed by a drop of sherry reduction on the spoon just to finish our palate with a touch of sweet grape! Even though we were only one course into it, we already knew we would like this place a lot!
Image 28: Escalivade, a traditional Catalan charcoal-grilled vegetable course consisting of onion, red pepper, aubergine, and tomato. Here, Joan’s version of the same composition of vegetables but smoked and spherified into liquid balls!
SEE VIDEO HERE
Image 29: None of us at the table was a big fan of artichoke but not this time! A tasting of artichoke…
Image 30: … diced, puree, fried, decorated with a silky edible “flower-looking” thing and surrounded by a creamy foie gras mousse with shavings of black truffle! Incredible mix of texture, brilliant combination of flavour, together with the truffle aroma and the richness of the foie gras - a perfect dish! Spot on!
Image 31: I was worried when our server said this grilled king prawn was paired with a citrus sauce.
Image 32: Surprisingly, this acidulated mushroom jus was more savoury than acidic, and the best part was its strong hint of fruitiness which carried throughout the dish!
And needless to say, the juice from the head was awesome! Delicious!
Image 34: More seafood – beautifully poached lobster tail resting on a seaweed sauce. We were glad that the sauce wasn’t as powerful as it looked and the texture was precisely timed!
Next, concentrated onion soup base with walnuts and fried onion…
… then Comté cheese velouté was poured on top.
Image 37: The cheese was strong by itself but blended well with the onion base. Furthermore, the nuts provided a lovely crunchy texture to the soup. Another amazing dish!
Image 38: Sole with Mediterranean flavours. This simple grilled filet was accompanied by five sauces, starting from the bottom: fennel, citric, orange, pine nut, and olive. It was a colourful plate of sauce tasting – we were debating if the sauce or the sole was the main focus of the dish!
Image 39: An “onion rock” surrounded by baby octopus. The rock was seaweed cake with a subtle sweetness. The crunchy octopus and the spongy cake with a deep taste of seaweed - We like this course a lot!
Image 40: Continuing with seafood - Suquet, a Catalan seafood stew, Joan’s interpretation of course.
Image 41: Red mullet with gnocchi. The fish had a remarkable texture but the sauce was overwhelming!
Image 42: A complex steak tartare which contained caper compote, pickles, lemon, hazelnut, raisin, meat béarnaise sauce, small balls of mustard ice cream and mustard leave garnish!
Image 43: We were instructed to start with the chives at the bottom, then move upward to spiced tomato, the smoked paprika, and to finish with Sichuan pepper! A sophisticated course!
Image 44: This Hare à la Royale was the least favourite dish of the night! Our server mentioned that this was a special course from the chef!
Image 45: The unique part was the fake “radish with earth” demonstrating their blown sugar and distillation technique.
The “essence of soil” on the side allowed us to taste earth!
Image 47: Unfortunately, the hare on the right was disgusting. Not only did it have a soft soaky texture, but also the hare liver sauce was dominated with strong smell of offal.
Image 48: Fortunately, we requested a few signature desserts along with our booking. They were more than enough to compensate for the previous course!
Image 49: Starting off with Green colourology - an example of Jordi’s one-colour dish. A collection of green apple, mint, liquorice, herb, lime, shiso, and avocado. Everything was green and even the plate was green! Refreshing!
SEE VIDEO HERE
Next, the most fragrant dish I have ever tasted.
Image 51: This genius creation was Jordi’s famous fragrance adaptation - DKNY. A mixture of mini balls of apple, pineapple, melon and ice made from flowers and lime. Using a certain combination of these edible ingredients, he was able to mimic the fragrance. Wow, it was just like eating perfume! What a seductive dessert!
Image 52: They even let us smell the actual perfume as a comparison. We were again impressed! Our table was surrounded by an attractive scent.
Now a stronger one, Terre d’Hermes, a perfume that we are quite familiar with.
Image 54: The dessert consisted of chocolate crumbs, milk air, grapefruit, orange, and mandarin jasmine sorbet. Even though the chocolate was a bit distracting, the obvious note of orange made it work!
Image 55: Terre d’Hermes, its distinct smell of fruitiness with an earthy tones, brought back a lot of good memories from our honeymoon suite at Burj al Arab, the 7-star hotel in Dubai where this elegant fragrance was used throughout all suites! This is what “emotional cuisine” is all about!
More dessert… a play on texture using sheep milk.
Covered in “wool” made by candy floss were caramelized milk, foam, mousse, ice cream with a touch of caramel.
Image 58: Our meal really reached its peak when Jordi took us on a Trip to Havana to experience a classic Cuban cocktail along with a Cuban cigar. A cigar on one hand with a mojito on the other - not many things in life could be more indulgent than this!
The deconstructed mojito consisted of rum balls, citric sorbet, and mint granite.
Image 60: Then, a chocolate tube filled with Cuban cigar ice cream! Yes, ice cream infused with cigar smoke! You can't find more exciting food than this! Thanks to Jordi for giving us non-smokers a chance to experience cigar! This is the closest I came to smoking.
Image 61: Definitely the most memorable ice cream in my life! It was strong at first, but oh man, it was good, exceptionally good! Exquisite both for the eyes and on the palate! Another unforgettable dish! After all these courses, there was no doubt that this was one of the best restaurants in the world!
Image 62: While my mind was still enjoying the sun in Cuba, Jordi wanted to finish our night within a football stadium! He suggested us one last entertaining dessert. Our server emphasized it was just something for fun, a course that was inspired by one of Messi’s Goal!
We sensed a strong smell of grass as they brought out that football bowl with an iPod playing soundtrack of a FC Barcelona match.
Image 64: This was the game - upon his instruction, we followed the path with our finger, ate the first meringue, then the second before picking up the ball and scoring into the net.
SEE VIDEO HERE
Image 65: According to the Roca brothers, each taste captures an emotion - milk with tenderness, lemon with joy, and jasmine with gentleness… and this is the way to capture Messi’s Goal…
Image 66: Bowl of passion fruit cream with mint compote and lemon flower covered with a meringue grid along with a white chocolate truffle.
Image 67: And finally, a box of petits-fours with a wide variety of flavour to finish such a spectacular meal.
Yuzu bonbon, Figs and spices, Mont Blanc, Praline, Irish Coffee Marshmallow.
Image 69: At that moment, I was left speechless as my mind was stunned by the enormous amount of creativity and intelligence that have gone into each course. What a sensational cuisine created by the three brothers – from Josep’s magical wine tour, to Joan’s stunning olive tree, and finished with Jordi’s Trip to Havana - It was the dining experience of a lifetime!