Tag Archives: El Bulli

Estrella Inedit “the beer created by Ferran Adria”

  We were given a few bottles of this beer as a gift, which we wanted to share with the gift giver, but time just goes by too quickly and we just haven’t been able to synch our calendars. 

So I decided to tszuj up a random lazy Sunday night dinner of just chicken wings, and treat myself to a bottle. 

I’m not even a beer drinker. My experience of Spanish beer is cervezza served ice cold in tapas bars, which are light and wonderfully refreshing with (endless) plates of jamon iberico. 

This beer is more like a German blonde beer, although less cloudy, but with that familiar yeasty and malty aroma. 

What makes it so drinkable is the addition of spices and fruitiness. It’s light, and not so gassy that you can’t drink a bottle easily. 

In short, a winner for me! 

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41 Degrees, Barcelona, Spain

Hands down, the best meal I have had. Ever.

41 Degrees started off as a cocktail lounge, attached to the tapas bar, Tickets, by Adrià brothers, Ferran and Albert. The intimate 16-seater bar then started serving a 41 “course” dinner of amuse bouches.

The meal is a totally immersive experience that I don’t want to spoil for anyone who has not yet been. Suffice to say if you’ve been, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, then it’s an absolute must-visit if you are in Barcelona.

It’s also the closest thing to El Bulli, with owners, cooks and many staff from the famed, now-closed legendary restaurant. (Albert Adrià himself has referred to 41 Degrees as a “mini Bulli”).

Make no other plans for the evening – our dinner started at 8 and we left after midnight. And with an almost ridiculous attention to detail, we didn’t stop grinning at each other the entire evening. Every thing is intended to (and does) surprise and delight every one of your senses.

I heard that Albert is planning to return the space to its cocktail roots, and moving the dining experience somewhere nearby in Barcelon’s theatre district, but bookings can only be made via their website.


Catalunya

Jamón ibérico “Gran Reserva” served with crusty bread topped with crushed tomatoes and olive oil

I’ve been waiting with much anticipation for Catalunya to open. Excited about the prospect of enjoying dishes created by a crack team with executive chef Alain Devahive Tolosa – who has worked in the wonderfully creative El Bulli – and eating them in the incredible floating restaurant in One Fullerton, was a way of us to experience a bit of El Bulli, especially since we were unable to visit before it closed.

I have to admit, I wasn’t sure what to expect. What you get, is a very simple, traditional Spanish menu, including snacks, cold and hot tapas, meat and seafood.

Realising that we were about to do our usual and order everything off the menu (our eyes are always bigger than our stomachs), we agreed that in order to enjoy the food, we would stick to either tapas or mains. Tapas won the toss.

We started with Jamón ibérico “Gran Reserva” – cured Iberian ham, along with the recommended bread with tomato and olive oil. The ham was delicious (it always is!), beautifully paired with the crusty bread with a refreshing topping of crushed tomatoes and olive oil.

Tomato salad with tuna belly and basil

Second to the table was a tomato salad with tuna belly and basil. Perhaps my love of Japanese food influenced my order here – I read “tuna belly” and thought “toro” sashimi – with its delicate fresh flavour of the sea. What was served was cooked tuna belly, which, with toro on my mind, made me think of tinned tuna. What a waste of such a prized piece of fish to cook it completely through. The wonderful creaminess of the tuna belly was completely lost and what we got was flakes of cooked tuna in a tomato salad. Even the sweetness of the tomato salad couldn’t redeem this dish for me.

We then were served calamari, andalucian style, served with mayonnaise. Sadly, this dish was also a disappointment. The batter was light, but greasy and also lacking in seasoning, so it ended up tasting very bland, even with the mayonnaise.

Suckling pig with lemon purée

Redemption came in the form of roasted sucking pig with lemon purée. Suckling pig is obviously a Spanish speciality, and  the chefs at Catalunya executed this perfectly. Roasting slowly for over 12 hours means tender and juicy meat, with perfectly crisp skin. Suckling pig is a very rich dish, and the lemon puree adds fresh dimension that brings this dish alive in your mouth as well as balancing the richness. Our waiter explained that the puree was potato based, and the flavour of the lemon came from the white pith. There was such a zingy lemon flavour that I would have thought it was from lemon oil or the rind and there was absolutely no bitterness that I associate with the pith. Gorgeous dish.

Estrallados – eggs with fries and chorizo iberico

The last savoury dish we ordered was estrallados, eggs with fries and chorizo iberico. This was served to us exactly as it was described – scrambled eggs with fried slices of potato, topped with thin slices of chorizo. This was tasty, although I felt like I should have had that for breakfast, or at least while the sun was still out.

Torrija – fried milk bread with spices with smoked milk ice-cream

The final dish was a great way to finish the evening – torrija – fried milk bread with spices with smoked milk ice-cream. It seemed really odd on paper, it was really odd in real life, but my goodness, how that oddness worked ! I tried the smoked milk ice-cream first – an explosion of smokiness in a mouthful of cold milky ice-cream. And then the fried milk bread – dense and chewy and intensely sweet, the two apart were almost too much for my senses, together, perfectly balanced.

The restaurant is stunning from the outside – a floating dome of glass floating on top of the waters at Marina Bay, and from the inside it is luxurious and comfortable, with an equally stunning panoramic view of Marina Bay Sands across the water. Attentive and competent staff round out the experience of dining at this chic restaurant. Dress to impress !

Catalunya
The Fullerton Pavilion
82 Collyer Quay
Singapore
Tel: 6534 0886

Open daily: 12 noon to 2am