I am a fan tour.
My 48 hours in Barcelona.
Contributed by Jens Hoffmann.
Barcelona, me gusta.
I am travelling since years to Barcelone and I still love the city.
As club culture gives way to easy cafe & bar culture and more startups take root, the inhabitants take a new pride in their city as one of the most unique place in the world, a truly vibrant, hot, open and tolerant oasis in southern Europe.
Today Barcelona is coming into its own as a “funky tourist” hotspot.
We checked at the Mandarin Oriental, designed by Patricia Urquiola, she made this place a fantastique location.
Patricia’s designs have been distinguished with many awards. She is in the International Design Yearbook, IMM Cologne Award, Good Design Awards of the Chicago Athenaeum, Red Dot Award and the Elle Decoration International Awards. Her Fjord armchair and foot stool for Moroso and her Bague lamp for Foscarini are part of the permanent collection at the Museum of MoMA in New York.
She was responsible for the whole design of Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona. Specialising in product design, architecture, installations and concept development you feel straight away her style. She has designed for the revered B&B Italia, Bisazza, Alessi, Foscarini, Mutina, Panasonic and Viccarbe. In the architecture arena, she has worked with the reputed Roberto Torretta, Valentino, Max Mara and Moroso among others.
Its not a cool style at all, its very cosy inside and outside.
Again, I stiil like the crowdy Ramblas, a street in central Barcelona, popular with both tourists and locals alike, between Barri Gòtic and El Raval, connecting Plaça de Catalunya in the centre with the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell.
Even better if you have a hideaway in the city with a pool.
You wil find everywhere good restaurants with typical spanish food.
Hasta la proxima.
If you are in Barcelona, try the Roccas in Girona.
The restaurant is situated in the pleasant town of Girona, which has a well-preserved medieval old town and is about 60 miles north of Barcelona.
Celler de Can Roca!
It is run by the three Roca brothers: Joan Roca is head chef, Josep Roca is sommelier and Jordi Roca is the patissier.
The restaurant opened in 1986 but moved to a purpose built new building in 2007, with large kitchens giving plenty of room for its 30 chefs to work. There is also a large temperature-controlled wine storage area at ground floor level to accommodate the vast wine cellar.
Roccas in action:
The dining room is laid out in a triangular shape around an atrium with several poplar trees behind a glass partition. There is a wooden floor but each table rests on its own patch of brown carpet. The tables are well spaced and it is lovely to be here.
A drop window facing the garden another side and a bar area making up the third side.
The tables are set with Rosenthal china. There are tasting menus as well as a la carte dishes.
The restaurant is noted for its large wine selection, and the two huge wine lists, one for white and one for red, are mounted on their own trolley and wheeled to the table. While you consider the wine lists a little “amuse bouche” arrives at the table, nice caramelised olives.
There are no less than 2,800 separate wines available, with 60,000 bottles stored in the cellar area.
We started with chicken mousse sandwiched in-between two very delicate slivers of fried potato.
A further nibble was anchovy bone with rice tempura, followed by an appetiser of mushroom brioche with hot meat consommé.
The brioche had an light texture, a really remarkable piece of baking that practically melted in the mouth. The consommé seemed pleasant, with fairly gentle taste and was not quite as hot as it might have been.
The breads were made from scratch in the kitchen. Lovely. It was a selection of white bread, multi-grain, olive bread, brioche of olive oil.
The breads had lovely texture, and the flavours came through really well.
The lobster was very tender and had excellent flavour, served on a bed of absolutely superb rich black mushroom sauce.
We had smoked langoustines, served with a lovely sauce made from the head juices, onion and Comte cheese, which in this case was just what was needed as it allowed the delicate flavour of the superb langoustines to really shine. Followed by a veal steak tartare, using veal from Girona. This was served as a rectangular slab, on which were dots of mustard ice cream, mustard leaves, spicy tomato ketchup, caper compote, Sichuan pepper, a little lemon compote to provide acidit.
The sweet ending was an apple dessert, with apple in a series of styles and textures, with little leaves of crisp apple surrounding apple ice cream.
Followed by very good coffee and a selection of petit fours.
Overall this was a superb meal, with terrific ingredients, high levels of technical skill on display, well judged flavour combinations and attractive presentation.
For me the best restaurant in Spain, and a fairly priced three star experience.
Me gusta, we will stop and come back.