Compartir

I never got the chance to eat at El Bulli, awarded 3 Michelin stars and voted World’s Best Restaurant 4 years in a row. I think that it’s one restaurant I will regret never having the chance to eat or work in. In 2010, chef Ferran Adria announced its closer to open a non-profit foundation focused on gastronomy; a kind of university if you will that combines the minds and likes of lawyers, philosophers, physicians, chemists, chefs together to study gastronomy through various points of view. Interesting to see how it turns out in the next coming years.

Why I am talking about El Bulli if I am blogging about a restaurant called Compartir?

 

Well, there’s a very obvious connection between these two. Three chefs de cuisine of El Bulli —Oriol Castro, Eduard Xatruch, and Mateu Casañas — opened their informal restaurant, Compartir, in the town of Cadaqués, Spain.

The restaurant is about forty minutes from El Bulli and is housed in a historic residence that boasts a terrace adorned with orange trees. As the name suggests (“compartir” is the verb “to share” in Spanish), the menu is made up of 35 to 40 items designed for sharing between friends.  

But before I go onto dishes. Let’s talk a bit about location. Cadaqués is a charming and quaint town with a popular port, is home to Salvador Dali but is quite devoir of fascinating restaurants until Compartir came along.  

The restaurant is located in the town centre, in what was a rather run-down hotel that belongs to Senor Vehi, an art dealer who specialises in Dalí works. Vehi realised that the ground floor space was underperforming, and has now handed it over, on friendly commercial terms, to the trio of Spain’s most exciting chefs while still running the four apartments above.

As I entered the restaurant, I was taken aback by how laid back it was, compared to what I had seen in pictures and videos of El Bulli. Nonetheless, I thoroughly enjoyed the calm atmosphere, that equally makes the client at ease. At the same time though, I expected a lot since 3 of the best chefs in the world, considered as Adria’s right-hand men, opening a restaurant, showed be something that ‘blows your mind’.

Now, the food…what to expect? Here’s a glimpse.

To start, an offer from the restaurant.

Prawn cracker – melted in your mouth and very tasty

Beautiful texture and color…

…followed by a watermelon and peach martini…the saltyness of the cracker was masked by the sweetness of the martini.

To start…

Marinated sardines, orange and green olives

An unusual mix but very well thought and paired. The saltyness of the sardines and earthyness of the olives went well with the sweetness of the orange. Very fresh. 

Anchovies, olive oil caviar. Another great contrast. Served with sweet corn bread. 

 

Tuna, Iberic style

One of my favorites of the meal. Carpaccio of tuna, with iberic ham crumbs. Yum…A bit repetitive though, on the olive oil caviar.

 

Razor clams, miso and lime. 

Fresh razor clams, went well with bitterness of lime and sweet/savory taste of miso. 

The bed of algae…

Oysters…

Smoked vinegar

Cold, Japanese style…with sliced shallots

Fish broth…compared to the other two, this was most interesting as the broth was warm and oyster tempered. Expensive oysters though!

To follow…

Shrimp and Asparagus tempura

Ok…quite straightforward and nothing special, but the batter was sweet and light, and the prawns of great quality…even though they were deep fried. 

Seabass with mushrooms and algae

Chicken with crustaceans and ratafia (Catalan liquor flavored with lemon, herbs, and fruit kernels). This was my only disappoint. The meat was quite dry and it did not give me a ‘wow’ effect. 

It did blow my mind, but not in the way I expected. It was neither super creative or purely traditional, it was just simple, fresh and without pretension.

As for the desserts, there were still some playful touches. 

Chocolate bonbons (that exploded in your mouth) with mango sorbet

Hazelnut coulant

Better than a Chocolate coulant…

 

There is an excellent wine list, in Spanish, Catalan, French and English, compiled by Ferran Centelles, the former sommelier at El Bulli, who is now preparing for sale via Sotheby’s the 10,000 bottles the restaurant had when it closed.

But the real charm of Compartir is that it is more than the sum of its parts. Sitting outside under the stars, eating and drinking well, listening to the squawking seagulls above and hoping that the meal will never come to an end. 

 

Telephone: +34 972 258 482

Website: http://ca.compartircadaques.com

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Comments
One Response to “Compartir”
  1. Roberto says:

    Amazing text, lovely writing, you are awesome!

    Hope your meal was amazing! 😉

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