Friday, March 5, 2010


On Sunday I lunched with Christine and Richard in Jimena just after they’d read the news on the internet that the world famous Catalan restaurant El Bulli was to close.

I understand the story originated in the New York Times and the restaurant’s owner and famed chef Ferran Adría was quick to correct its story that it would finally close in 2014 because of economic difficulties.

Adría has since told the media that El Bulli will continue with a new format, it will be a foundation. “In 2014 we are going to serve meals, but we are going to study the format of service and the system of reservations.”

The famous restaurant in Cala Montjoi near Girona will close in January 2012 and stay shut for two years but it will not cease to exist insists Adría.

Living in Spain I am naturally proud that El Bulli and several others in Galicia are regularly amongst the top ten rated eateries in the world. However would I eat there? Probably not!

To eat at El Bulli you can’t just turn up but have to book many months in advance. Sorry but that is not to my taste. My choice of restaurant would depend on my mood at the time. I suspect that going to El Bulli is more important for many diners – like staying on the Grand Canal in Venice - than what you might eat when you are there. Fine for some, but not for me.

In contrast going to eat with Christine and Richard is more my line. Certainly you don’t have to make a booking months in advance – although perhaps I would do it for Richard’s awesome fish pie.

Now I have blogged here before about Richard and his pie. On Sunday it was served in the lower half of a Moroccan tajine duly haggled for in a souk. The beautiful colour of the plain clay contrasted wonderfully with the baked potato top of the pie. Half of the art of creating fine food is in the presentation so now this master dish has passed from being awesome to truly awesome.

Richard is a man who has spent much of his working life grasping a spanner and wrench then in his leisure hours clasping a rod or shotgun. So to find him in the kitchen with a chef’s paraphernalia is somewhat at odds with his stereotype. You might suggest that he is at last in contact with his feminine side and would get a well-deserved whack over the head with a Lancashire screwdriver for you trouble. His creative side, certainly yes.

For whilst the truly awesome fish pie might be Richard’s signature dish he can turn his hand to many other culinary delights including baking his own bread. So whilst I sincerely hoped that El Bulli does re-open its doors in 2014 I am more concerned that I am invited back to the Casa Jacaranda and the delights of Richard’s kitchen well before then.


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