El Celler de Can Roca, Girona

So, in November I was told that there were no tables for Friday or Saturday dinner even in February, three and a half months later. In fact, there were no Saturday or Friday dinner reservations available for a YEAR! Well, it’s only the restaurant Can Roca, 2nd best restaurant in the world, 2011, 3 Michelin stars and one only needs to step into the wonderland of the premises to realise that there’s something really special about to take place over the course of the next 4 hours. Yet another family affair, The eldest Roca heads up the kitchen, the younger Roca looks after the wine and the youngest Roca takes care of the pastry. Quite a combination!

Let the feast begin….for it is a feast, in a gorgeous dining room, filled with the winter sun filtering through the glass doors.

The World
The world unveiled
Olive tree

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First up (clockwise from the ‘North Pole’), The World: Peru, Lebanon, Japan, Mexico, Morocco : Liquid ceviche bonbon, crunchy hummus ‘truffle’, miso and tuna doughnut, guacamole bubble, sweet cous-cous basket. Each one better than the other, each one an intense burst of harmony.

Ah..the classic Roca appearance from The Olive Tree: caramelised olive stuffed with anchovy. *giggle*

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Campari and Calamari
Zucchini
Truffle

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Along came Campari bonbons (yes, they were edible cocktails!) and Calamari, Lemon ‘popcorn’ 

The Zucchini omelette was a bit boring, but the Truffle bonbon was very much like it should be – earthy, truffly (not chemical truffle) and rather quite pleasant.

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Cup of tea?
Nope! Soup and bread!
Green salad

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Truffled brioche and Pork broth – there cannot be a more comforting broth than the one we had. In fact, I wanted a whole pint of it. It was simply, just sensationally delicious! The truffled brioche wasn’t bad either, though it took second stage.

Green Salad: What a thing of beauty. Avocado, lime, melon, Chartreuse (the little white caramels on top), sorrel, cucumnber (soup), green shiso, tarragon, rocket, oxalis and olive sorbet

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Autumn-Winter Salad
Oyster
Duck n apple

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Autumn-winter salad: Sea urchin, pumpkin, sweet potato, quince, kaki (Japanese persimmon), tangerine, boletus edulis (Cep), distilled sand (yes, really!), sand of boletus edulis, sand of pumpkin seeds, sand of walnuts. Quite a lot happening on the plate. A hell of a lot, but it doesn’t seem that way when it’s presented. The sand foam was a revelation – tasting of sand,earthiness and did it’s bit to balance out the rest of the dish, funnily enough!

The yin yang of Oyster with Palo Cortado, white and black garlic was a rich and creamy affair, satisfying nonetheless.

My Timbale of apple and duck liver with vanilla oil was way too sweet and would have made a very nice first dessert. The others had a mesmerising prawn dish.

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Sole
Sole crackling
Cod

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Look at that plate! Wow! And the Charcoal grilled sole meuniere was pretty fantastic as well, coming with milk skin, black butter, lemon and capers, flower and citrus peel and the crispiest of crispy sole skin!

Salt-cod brandade: braised salt-cod tripe, salt-cod foam, olive oil soup, shallots, honey, thyme, chilli pepper, vegetable contrast. Sounds a lot more complicated than it was – quite light, and the honey, thyme soup was a happy spoonful.

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Iberian pig
Red mullet
Beef tartare

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Iberian suckling pig blanquette with Riesling: mango and truffle terrine, beet, garlic, orange concentrate, saffron pistil. Beautiful little piggie, the rest not really of much mention, but the saffron flower made quite an impact  right at the end.

Red mullet cooked at slow temperature stuffed with red mullet pate, aniseed flavoured herb, orange and saffron gnocchi. Again not a favourite and messily cooked (torn skin on the fish), cold gnocchi. Quite the let down.

Nevertheless, immediately back on track with Beef tartare with mustard ice cream , spiced tomato, caper and lemon compote, hazelnut praline, bearnaise sauce, Oloroso sherry raisin, chive butter, sichuan pepper, Pimenton de la Vera, smoked paprika and curry, mustard leaves, baby onions.One word. Incredible. Stunning on all levels. The potato souffle too, just perfect and the little tiny droplets of mustard ice cream – well, YES!

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Lamb
Pigeon
Orange

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Lamb with charcoal grilled pepper and tomato. There are no words to describe the magnificence of this dish. Lamb breast, lamb fillet and those pure, pure drops of pepper puree – nothing in the world could taste more intensely of pepper (we even had a second round of just the drops!). Magical.

Wood-pigeon liver with onion, caramelised hazelnuts, curry, juniper, orange skin, herbs. Earthy, gamey, very much grounded and a serious dish!

Orange colourology: orange, tangerine, egg yolk, passion fruit, carrot. Not as tasty as it looks, though the carrot granita was outstanding.

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Milk
Understorey
The trolley!

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Milk desserts: milk caramel, sheep’s milk ice cream, sheep’s milk curd-cheese, sheep’s milk yoghurt and milk cloud, guava puree. Heaven heaven heaven! That’s milk candy floss for you by the way!

Under Forest: Beetroot, chocolate, tangerine, tonka bean, cocoa. I guess it does resemble the forest ground, only much much more palatable and memorable in the stomach. All forms of crunchiness, creaminess, earthiness and a chocolate tree to boot! Playful and more-ish.

At last. the petit four trolley, the Willy Wonka effect….

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Petit fours
Petit fours

Macaroons, lychee marshmallow, oreo, lemon candy, financier, various truffles, hazelnut pralines, pate de fruits, pineapple with lime, oranges with crispy skins…..a heady assortment to spend a sunny afternoon sipping brandy in the garden with.

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Overall experience: 10
Food: 10
Recommend you go: 10
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