Restaurante El Celler de Can Roca : Not what it could have been…
Anders.Pedersen 01/06/12 17:50
Fecha de visita*:
Precio por persona: 185.0 €
I was a bit disappointed by the food at El Celler de Can Roca. Although there were some strange things about the food (see below), in general there was nothing wrong with it, but it just lacked flavour. I've said in other reviews that I believe this to be a general thing in Spain, and people in Spain seem to prefer mild food (where else do you see people put soda into beer to make the beer more mild?), so of course Spanish restaurants make food for Spanish tastes. The sommelier told me that he almost cried out of happiness when he first tried the olive soup that I had. Although the "black olive fritter" was really, really nice, to me the rest of that dish was just a soup in different colours that only tasted like olives + an olive ice cream that was too salty. But the restaurant can of course only serve the food that THEY like.
However, I was a lot more impressed by Sant Pau in Sant Pol de Mar (my review is also on this site), as the food there had flavour.
Okay, the details:
First the good things:
* Absolutely beautiful restaurant.
* The sheer amount of appetizers (six servings, three consisting of two elements, and one consisting of five elements)
* Great service, which deserved my big tip, but not perfect. When I was seated at my table, I waited a long time to get a menu. The couple next to me had a menu on their table within one minute. Between dishes, I sometimes waited maybe one or two minutes or even less – other times I waited a lot longer. After asking for the bill, I also waited a really long time. All in all, eating the "festival menu" (11 courses) + appetizers and petit fours took me four and a half hours (they told me three hours, but nothing in Spain is precise ;-)). At Sant Pau, it took me slightly less than three hours, and there they pulled out the chair for me when I returned to my seat, but not at Can Roca. Nevertheless, the service was attentive, friendly and professional.
* Head chef came out to speak to all the guests, and when I asked to see their wine cellar (very impressive) afterwards, he showed me around.
* Some dishes, like the "flower bomb" was beautifully presented. Others, not so (see below).
* The breads were really, really good – my favourite being the one with olive. Red wine, apricot and walnut, and the Catalonian one were also wonderful. The thin stick was the only one that was nothing special.
* Some dishes were really nice, although maybe not the most interesting dishes I've eaten. For example the cod soup with really nice onions, the lamb and the pork were very nice, although quite simple and not exactly spectacularly good. Some of the appetizers, like the "Korean" one, the cep brioche and the cep bonbon were all wonderful. Other appetizers were forgettable though.
* The foie gras dish was quite possibly the best foie gras I've ever had. I've never really liked foie gras, but I've had it three times where I liked it. I didn't think foie gras could be any better than the dish I had at Sangonereta in Valencia, but the one here was probably a little bit better. It could still be improved, though, by adding more elements to the dish. It was simply a timbale and a caramel sauce around it. The menu said with vanilla oil, but I didn't notice any vanilla. What made the one at Sangonereta so great was not just the mille-feuille of foie gras, mango and goat cheese, but also that there was caramelised sesame, a caramelised fig and pickled ginger on the plate.
On to the less successful things:
* The presentation was not always as good as it could have been. For instance the lamb, the pork, and the coffee didn't look bad at all, but it just looked like dishes I have had in restaurants where I pay €40-€50 for a meal.
* Infusion of elder: The cherries, sardines and ice cream in this starter were really nice (and the dish looked beautiful), but the infusion itself was like water with a bit of olive oil in it. The almonds should have been toasted to bring out the flavour. When I mentioned that the infusion lacked flavour, the waitress said "yes, I know". Maybe she just didn't know what to say, but if she really agreed with me, why do they serve this?
* Sea bream: To me, bream, just like sea bass, is a terribly overrated fish that is usually dry and boring. Why serve this when you can have turbot, Dover sole or zander? The fish itself was very nice though (but still a little bit naturally dry), flavoured with a bit of lemon, and it was definitely one of the best breams I've ever had (the best one being at Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea, London). What bothered me about this dish were the citrus elements on there. Usually, I'm a sucker for citrus, but, unless I misunderstood the sommelier, they had deliberately made these elements from the white pith of the fruits (along with the zest), making it extremely bitter and almost inedible. To me that made no sense at all. Using only the zest, or taking an entire slice, with pith, of lemon and letting it simmer a few minutes in sugar syrup avoids the bitterness.
* Lobster with potato mash and sauce of black trumpets: The presentation was the worst of the night (see picture). The lobster was put on top of the mash and the sauce poured all over it, making it look like they had whisked all the elements together in a bowl. Eating it was the same experience. To me, the lobster seemed a bit undercooked, but that's my personal preference.
* Red mullet with a soup from its bones. I had a similar soup/sauce at Sant Pau (with sepia), and that one was really pleasant. The flavour of the one at Can Roca was really, really fish, like eating pure fish stock. Maybe that's just my preference, 'cause I know some Spanish people like that particular flavour (some of my friends eat it almost daily).
* Watermelon sorbet: I've always found watermelon to be the dullest melon type, but again that's a preference. The sorbet was crystallised, and the entire dish was quite forgettable.
* Flower bomb. The presentation was beautiful, and the flavour of rose water was definitely better balanced than at Riff in Valencia, but the violet candy floss around it was sticky and impossible to eat. A somewhat successful dish that I did, however, quickly forget.
* Coffee dessert: The waitress told me it had vanilla ice cream, whereas the menu said anis ice cream. Nevertheless, they could have told me any flavour and I would have believed them, because the coffee they had poured onto the bottom of the plate drowned out all other flavours. Very unbalanced.
* Petit fours: I didn't find a single one of these more than mildly interesting. Most barely had any flavour, and the passion fruit ice cream was sour.
Overall, a bit disappointing, although there were definitely some good dishes here. However, it's not a place I would go back to – at least not for the food, as in general it simply lacked the "wow factor". Salt and pepper makes everything better, but putting seasoning in a bowl of water doesn't make it wonderful (e.g. the elder infusion).
I really don't feel that I'm being too critical. When I go to a restaurant that has three Michelin stars and is considered to be the second best restaurant in the world, I expect nothing but the best.
I've been to restaurants with only one star (Herman, AOC, and Kokkeriet – all in Copenhagen, and Ca' Sento in Valencia) or even a restaurant that didn't have a single star (Sangonereta in Valencia) that were better than El Celler de Can Roca.
* One note: I've always found the category "servicio del vino" very strange. Does this mean how they serve the wine? For this review, my rating go for the service itself, not how they serve the wine.
09 de Junio de 2012 (20:59)
Yo aprenderé ingles, si voy a un país a vivir , donde no hablen castellano y hablen ingles, sino quizás no tenga que aprender , y no me ofende nada de lo que diga usted , solo me ofende la ignorancia y las injusticias , un saludo y que usted lo pase bien en mi pais .
09 de Junio de 2012 (21:08)
"La ignorancia y las injusticias"? Quál "la ignorancia y las injusticias"?
09 de Junio de 2012 (21:16)
Pero vamos a ver , tu me dices que yo tengo que aprender ingles , quizás , tu hablas de idiomas , yo hablo de comida , tu hablas de sabores de aquí y yo no estoy de acuerdo , sin mas , tu hablas de ofensas , y yo te digo que a mi solo me ofende la ignorancia y las injusticias , no personalizo y no entiendo tus respuestas , así que yo no te vuelvo a leer y tu me dejas en paz , un saludo y a seguir bien.
Es muy difícil entenderse con la traducción , así que yo no estoy ofendido, LO QUE OPINE UN DANES QUE HA VIVIDO MUCHO EN INGLATERRA , SOBRE LA COMIDA DE MI PAÍS ,NO ME OFENDE , y como no nos entendemos , aquí paz y después gloria.VALE¡
09 de Junio de 2012 (21:25)
Pero no se quál es "La ignorancia y las injusticias" yo digo en mi valoración...?
09 de Junio de 2012 (21:36)
No nos entendemos , tu comentas que :Sí, me gustó más que El Celler de Can Roca Sangonereta. Si usted esta ofendido por eso, que así sea. Si no te gustan mis otros comentarios, que así sea.
Yo solo te digo que a mi me ofenden dos cosas solo, la ignorancia y las injusticias , con lo que te estoy diciendo que no estoy ofendido , por tus opiniones , haya tu , no te estoy llamando ignorante ni a ti , ni a tu comentario , ni injusto , vale , entendido y aclarado , un saludo.
09 de Junio de 2012 (21:56)
La ignorancia y las injusticias son solo me gusta mas Sangonereta que El Celler de Can Roca?
09 de Junio de 2012 (22:29)
Ya sabes Oscar que tengo dos ahijadas chinas, bueno una es china/vietnamita y a su padre, mi compadre An, le gusta mucho la paella, pero como dice que no le encuentra sabor siempre le echa Tabasco.
10 de Junio de 2012 (09:05)
Si me parece bien , yo solo le estoy intentando decir ,sin éxito , que no me ofenden sus gustos , que es lo que me hecha en cara , que solo me ofende la injusticia y la ignorancia , en general , el la vida , ya le he dicho por activa y por pasiva , que no le llamo ignorante ni a el , ni a sus comentarios , ni injustos , ya no se como decírselo , solo eso , que no le gusta el sabor , o le parece floja la comida de aquí , peor para el , pero nada mas , si es que no hay manera de que me entienda , no se si sera la traducción , un saludo.
10 de Junio de 2012 (09:16)
Insisto por ultima vez , si me entiendes bien y sino también , yo defino lo que me ofende en la vida a mi , no digo y ya te lo he dicho , que me ofendas ni tu , ni tus comentarios , cada uno dice lo que le parece , como es lógico y por supuesto he estado en sangonerete , no me disgusto , pero sin mas , no se me ocurriría dar una opinión de un sitio donde no he estado, ni por supuesto compararlo , un saludo.
10 de Junio de 2012 (16:25)
No comprendo tu mensajes.
10 de Junio de 2012 (19:22)
Yo tampoco entiendo los tuyos , dejemoslo ahí , un saludo.