El Celler de Can Roca (Girona)

The Place

El Celler de Can Roca doesn’t need much introduction. Awarded with 3 Michelin stars, voted 2nd best restaurant in the world (by San Pelligrino in 2011 and 2012) and claimed as one of the best restaurants in the world by foodies all around the globe, El Celler is a culinary dream.


The restaurant is established in the suburbs of Girona (Catalonia, Spain), in an inconspicuous building. Once inside, a clean, fresh and modern interior welcomes the guests. There’s a small garden surrounded by glass walls in the middle of the restaurant, and lots of wood is used. The concept “3” is all around: 3 stones on the tables, the triangular shape of the dining room, and – off course – the 3 Roca brothers.

The Chefs

El Celler is run by the three Roca brothers. The oldest brother, Joan Roca, is the head chef; Josep Roca, the middle brother, is the sommelier, and the youngest brother, Jordi Roca, is in charge of desserts. This unique family combination leads to one of the most impressive dining experiences in the world. Or, how San Pelligrino puts it:

The passion for cooking and hospitality shared by the three Roca brothers is palpable, but the food is playful rather than serious – caramelised olives are brought to the table on bonsai trees – and Catalan ingredients are given centre-stage billing on the menu. Clever techniques complement simple flavour combinations designed to titillate the palate and the memory rather than confuse the mind. It’s clever stuff – but thankfully it is also utterly delicious.

(Yes, it’s a tool to make food)

The Food

The food in El Celler is high tech, ultra qualitative, innovative and creative. Dishes are based on the Catalan kitchen and twisted to perfection by the Roca brothers. We didn’t doubt and opted for the full option “Festival menu”, which comes at a very reasonable price of 160 euro for a 14 courses gastronomical feast.  Be aware, this menu is for big eaters! We chose the wine pairing as well, and kicked the night off with a glass of (free!) house cava.

Appetizers

11 appetizers were served, among them the famous olive tree (olives infused with anchovies paste), some truffle delights, a campari bonbon, a gelatinized mussel, and – to start with – the ‘world journey’: 5 small appetizers which represents 5 countries. You’re asked to guess which appetizers are from which country, a playful start of the evening!

The world: Mexic, Peru, Thailand, Morocco and Japan

Caramelized Olive

Ring calamar adaptated
Campari bombon
Marinated mussels

Truffled bombon
Truffled brioche

Bread

Oyster with black pearl, wrapped in its own juice. With melon juice, dots of cucumber, celery, apple, lime jelly, Oxalis acetosella, melon flower and heartleaf iceplant.


Green wheat with smoked sardine, grapes, ice cream of toasted bread with olive oil and yeast foam.


“Olive paste”:
Black olive gazpacho, spicy gordal-olive mousse, black-olive fritter, manzanilla-olive ice cream, toasted bread with oil, fennel jelly, winter savory jelly and picual olive.

White asparagus comtesse and truffles

A whole king prawn:
Charcoal-grilled king prawn, king-prawn sand, ink rocks, fried legs, head juice and king prawn essence

Red sea bream, yuzu and capers

Salt-cod brandade: Braised salt cod tripe, salt-cod foam, olive-oil soup, shallots and honey, thyme and chilli pepper. Vegetable contrast.

Iberian suckling pig blanquette with Riesling, Mango terrine, melon and beetroot, beetroot purée, black garlic, onion and orange concentrate

Red mullet cooked at a low temperature


Charcoal-grilled lamb breast fillet and sweetbreads with eggplant, coffee and liquorice

Common wook pigeon liver and onion, curry-caramelized walnuts, juniper, orange peel and herbs


Caramelised apricot: Blown-sugar apricot with vanilla, caramelised apricot cream

Strawberries and cream

 

Moka mille-feuille, Anise mille-feuille with moka foam and coffee

Coffee & sweets

Coffee came and the dessert trolley appeared: a funny ‘candy trolley’ that looks like it came directly from Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory.

All kinds of sweet delights can be picked and are served on a futuristic plate.

The Wines

(The wine menu ‘books’)

The wine pairings were of great quality and highly recommendable. We sampled 14 wines (1 for each course), and it was a journey on itself: cava’s, white wines, red wines, a sweet wine and a Madeira – an incredible selection of some of the best wines out there. Mainly Spanish and French wines were served:

  • Albet i Noya Cava El Celler Brut D.O. Cava
  • Expression de Granite Domaine de l’Ecu 10 A.O.C. Muscadet Sevre et Maine
  • Gramona Celler Batlle 00 D.O. Cava
  • Manzanilla Pasada 30 D.O. Jerez
  • Albert Mann Muscat 11 A.O.C. Alsace
  • Loxarel Xarel.lo Vermell 11 Vilobí del Penedès
  • Ossian 09 Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León
  • Nelin 09 D.O.Qa.Priorat
  • Von Bassermann-Jordan Kirchenstück 07 V.D.P. Pfalz
  • La Pascole Bruno Duchêne 11 A.O.C. Collioure
  • Manuel de la Osa 04 D.O. La Mancha
  • Idus 06 D.O.Qa.Priorat
  • Casta Diva Miel D.O. Alicante
  • Advent Sumoll 09 D.O. Penedès
  • Henriques and Henriques Terrantez 20 Madeira

Some pictures of the wine cellar:

The “Belgian Taste Buds” Experience

El Celler de Can Roca guarantees an incredible restaurant experience. The quality, the creativity, the service, the wines … everything is of such high level that this restaurant will blow you away for sure. On a price level, the offered menu’s have an outstanding price/quality level compared to other 3* Michelin restaurants. In addition, the aperitif is included, and coffee comes for 2.5 euro! You’re right, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go!

Belgian Taste Buds:

–          Food Buds                                                         9/10

–          Wine Pairing Buds                                          8/10

–          Price/Quality Buds                                         8.5/10

–          Service Buds                                                     8/10

–          Experience Buds                                            9/10

 

 

El Celler de Can Roca
C/ de Can Sunyer, 48
17007 Girona, Spain
972 22 21 57
http://www.cellercanroca.com

 

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