Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Espai Sucre - Barcelona, Spain

Another great resource for restaurants in Barcelona is the Maribel's Guides. For "something totally unique," they recommended Espai Sucre for dessert. This restaurant only serves desserts and is only open at night from 9 to midnight and from 8 to 11 on weekends. It's on Princessa 53 (word of caution: beware of phony cops checking for counterfeit money and ATM pin numbers. If you are approached by such cops, just scream and run away ... lesson learned). We were told to look for a lighted orange sign with a black ant on it and it's exactly what we saw.

They had three different kinds of dessert tasting menus. They also had a five-course tasting menu that included three sweet and two savory dishes. Since we already had dinner, we decided to share the big dessert menu, which came with five desserts and petit fours at the end. Jordi Butrón previously worked at El Bulli, so I was expecting some eclectic flavor and texture combinations and eclectic is definitely what we got.

Here's our first dish. "Mariafuisa" cold soup with green apple and spicy yoghurt ice cream. I sort of wished I had kept the menu with me while I was eating this so I knew exactly what was in this dish. Even though the very kind waiter told us what we were being presented with each time, there were too many incongruent parts, that I just couldn't absorb all the information. My brain's a bit rusty these days too. When I took a bite, it was spicy and salty, so I assumed the matchsticks were cucumber, but Pete pointed out that it was actually green apple. I liked the sweet and salty aspect of it, but I was left puzzled throughout the whole thing. I think the waiter said the foam was liquorice and the block was green apple gele. Now that I think about it, maybe it's supposed to be a palate cleanser. That would make sense.
Bread pudding, bacon ice cream and pineapple. I don't really recall this one being that special. Bacon ice cream really tasted like bacon, but didn't really see how it went together with bread pudding and pineapple. I need Tom Colicchio to explain this to me.

Red wine baba, pear and saffron was interesting. Ok, I just had to look up what baba means, it's a rich cake soaked in rum and sugar syrup. So I guess instead of the rum, it's soaked in red wine. It came with red wine sorbet and saffron sauce. The little cubes on the bottom are pear gele and Parmesan biscuits. My favorite part of this dessert were the pear gele and Parmesan biscuits. They were so good. I could pick at them all day. I guess it's like eating some fruit, wine and cheese together but in a whole new package. Clever Mr. Butrón.
The next one was good, but not as out there. It was called Extra virgin olive oil cake, white peach, green olive and "San Simon." The peach jelly and peach sorbet were really good. There was a green olive caramel crisp and some sort of sauce at the bottom that was just OK, not very memorable.
The last dish was called Empyreumatic, I have no clue what that means. I call this dish all things dark and bitter, in the most appetizing way, of course. There were so many components to this dish that kept you nibbling, but I think there was just too much going on here. On the right was a chocolate puff pastry log, which tasted bitter and burnt, and milk mousse with some anise thing on the bottom. To its side, were poached plums topped with caramel ice cream and earl grey granita.
I really enjoyed the petit fours. On top, we had some sesame caramel crisps and chocolate and coconut lollipops. On the main level, we had some marshmallows, orange jelly and some sort of chocolate cookie or truffle. On the lower level, we had some curried biscuits and shortbread.
We also got small shots of bay leaf and kiwi juice, which was icy and slushy - really good. It was very refreshing and an excellent end to our dessert menu.
I love desserts, so trying Espai Sucre was fun. It was definitely a hit or miss for me with some of these items, but I admire the creativity and playfulness that Mr. Butrón puts forth with his creations. I dare not even try to recreate any of his dishes, but I have to try to make that kiwi and bay leaf drink at home. Yum.

Espai Sucre
Princesa, 53

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