Barcelona: Contemporary Catalan Cuisine at Alkimia
This is like a consolation prize for not getting a table at El Bulli. This is Plan B for fine cuisine while we are in Barcelona.
We found Alkimia from researching on Chowhound. We wanted to really go to Cinc Sentits as our first choice but they were closed. Both were excellent new wave restaurants.
Suanne finally got her glasses fixed. We were at around Sagrada Familia because there is where Alkimia is located. We found an optometrist on the way.
You know, Suanne always pushed me to do all the Spanish talking for her but this time (he he he) I told her I am not going to do that for her. It’s her glasses and if she wants it fixed, she needs to do it herself. Gosh, she hates me. But she did well. The optometrist does not speak English but he knows the problem right off. He refused payment too even though we offered to pay. I wished we had something to give him for his kindness. The only thing we had on ourselves is an Angus Third Pounder coupon, good only in the US. So Suanne said the FIRST official Spanish word communicating with a Spaniard … Gracias! Oh, I love to see her all stressed out. She hates me alright.
Our reservation was for noon but we were there about 30 minutes early. They were just setting up but were kind enough to let us in and have a table. We were the only customer there at that time which is technically still breakfast time in Spain!
The interior is awashed in white. Very minimalistic. Very white. I corrected the white balance of the picture above but the interior had a very pleasant lighting.
You know what we love best about Alkimia? That it is strictly PROHIBIDOR FUMAR!! No smoking. Oh yeah!
I like the lighting a lot. It was as if they are strategically placed that the focus is on the food and nothing else.
As expected, service was excellent. Very attentive, respectful and anticipative, if there is such a word. While Alkimia is a fine dining restaurant, they did not mind that we were in casuals and jeans.
I like their pepper and salt shakers. It took a while for me to figure out which is salt and which is pepper.
The knife … see how it does not lie on the sides? Alright, I am a sucker for details like this.
Their menu is huge, almost 2 feet long. It’s not that it is extensive — just outrageously big. The menu is actually simple. Alkimia serves contemporary Catalana cuisine.
Only three to choose from:
- The Menu Alkimia, tasting menu at €68 / CAD $105 — 12 courses
- The Traditional Menu at €54 — appetizers, 5 mains, 2 desserts
- The Seasonal Menu at €32 — appetizers, 2 mains, 1 dessert
We went with the Menu Alkimia. As in most tasting menu, everyone at the table has to order the same menu. We can’t have 1 order of Menu Alkimia and another for the Traditional Menu. This is because of timing issues, I believe.
Our waitress can clearly see that we were documenting the meal. I mean the camera is hard to not notice and Suanne has a note book (not notebook!) on her side. We were surprised that the waitress went and print out a color menu for our reference.
We had a bottle sparkling water. €4.50.
The breadstick was the first thing they brought to our table. It sure was fun … must be at least two feet long that we had to stretch to reach the top.
It was crispy and tasted like it was freshly made.
Next was the cured meat which came with …
… an oily drink with some very crusty bread crumbs in it. We were told to pop the cured meat and the “drink” all at once. It has a very unique combination of taste and texture.
We were still at the first appetizer course. They call this Gorgonzola cheese, tomato, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Gorgonzola cheese is Italian style blue cheese but for this dish it is made into thick foam.
OK, this is the closest we had come so far in trying Ferran Adria’s creation. It is the famed El Bulli master chef who first invented this style. It is supposed to place more importance to flavour than to the other aspects of the food.
It was a very interesting start to the meal. First course down … 11 more to come. (more…)