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Two Stars, One Incredible Experience

by James Moore
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spaininterior.jpgI was recently in Spain for Madrid Fusion, one of Spain's biggest gastro-festivals that included a “who’s who” of culinary heavyweights from Spain and elsewhere, including Ferran Adrià (who announced his two-year sabbatical from his famed El Bulli restaurant), Sergi Arola, Grant Achatz, Alain Ducasse, Cheong Liew and Mark Best.

While there, I enjoyed an extravagant lunch at the 2 Michelin star rated Sergi Arola Gastro (www.sergiarola.es), a top restaurant in Madrid and probably one of my best dining experiences in Spain. It is presided over by avant garde chef Sergi Arola, who enjoys a unique culinary pedigree. A disciple of Ferrán Adrià (who has redefined culinary techniques with over-the-top creations like freeze-dried foie gras, atomized martinis and edible hibiscus paper) Arola trained in Adrià’s kitchen laboratory in Barcelona, working alongside the master chef for 8 years.

Make sure you set aside two to three hours for this extraordinary gastronomic experience. The menu is simplified by offering 3 “sampler” selections – a “Gastro” menu (160€), “Sergi’s” menu (125€) and a “Basics” menu (105€). There is an incredibly extensive wine list that features over 500 labels, mostly from small producers, which are, shockingly, all available by the glass.

I was dining with two wonderful food journalists from Sydney and Singapore, and we chose the “Basics” menu – which consisted of 10 courses from the “Sergi’s” 14 course menu,.

Patrons are first served some “snacks”, consisting of large olives, croquetas, thin plantain chips, Arola-style spicy stuffed, potatoes and spicy tomato toasts.

 

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Sushi-sashimi Marinated Hake with rice ice cream

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Maki – Squid stuffed with vegetable and monkfish liver

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Sausage of duck liver and sweetbreads

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Baby Scallops with Creamy rice cooked with Idiazάbal cheese, bacon and asparagus

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Roasted Skate with Green Lentils du Puy

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Slow cooked Sirloin braised with turnip from la Cerdaña, carrots, and salsify

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And finally, we chose a "light" dessert – Sliced Granny Smith Apple, confit of celery, and apple and celery ice cream

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And just in case that didn’t satisfy your sweet tooth, a canister full of macaroons, grated chocolate, and hard candies, was presented as a final touch.

 

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I was truly inspired by the magnificent presentation and the unique combination of ingredients. If you're feeling up to the challenge, check out his recipes.

 

 

James Moore is a producer, publicist and freelance writer. When not traveling the world, he's home in Los Angeles, testing and photographing food to post on his blog Cook Like James

Comments   

 
0 #2 Ann Green 2010-03-03 08:18
The pictures are amazing!
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0 #1 David 2010-03-02 12:03
O James! Where will you take us next? This makes me want to return to Spain. Keep up the good work.
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