When we planned our trip to Barcelona there was once restaurant that was firmly at the top of my list: the world-famous Tickets by Albert Adrià. The younger brother of the legendary Ferran Adrià, Albert spent 23 years working at three Michelin starred ElBulli – voted the best restaurant in the world five time. In Barcelona, the brothers created their own food district called El Barri made up of six restaurants which hold three Michelin stars between them. The jewel in the crown is tapas bar, Tickets which is currently the 25th Best restaurant in the world.
As soon as you enter Tickets, you know you’re not in just any restaurant – this is a theatre of food, an amusement park of culinary delights! It’s no stuffy Michelin-starred restaurant, it’s a vibrant space with an open kitchen and a buzzy atmosphere. The entrance is like a ticket stand at a circus and you’re greeted by a ringmaster – an imaginative idea that sets the scene at this innovative place.
It’s not easy to get a booking – and you need reserve months in advance. Our trip to Barcelona was planned last minute but I was very lucky that a friend helped me to get a table. Now this is the happy face of a girl about to eat in the world’s best restaurant!
Now the restaurant serves tapas but not as we know it and the waiter suggested that he bring out some of the best dishes for us to try. We left ourselves in his capable hands, eagerly awaiting these creative dishes that I’d heard so much about.
What followed was one of the finest meals of time – and please forgive the lack of lengthy description 3562354636 courses, aperitifs and a bottle wine meant a serious food coma and slightly hazy head!
Chicken and anchovy with anchovy butter kicks us off with the perfect bite and we’re in for a long night of small tasters.
The ‘liquid olives’ are one of Adrià’s famous dishes, olive juice from handpicked olives is transferred into a solid olive using spherification. The olive itself explodes in your mouth so that you experience the very essence of the olive.
A take on a Spanish sandwich. Two crisp pieces of bread stuffed with the finest Iberico jowl loin.
Marinated prawns served on seriously clever frozen salt.
Porex of kalix – a foam textured bite made with smoked cream and hot radish.
The tapas at Tickets is a really interesting mix of avant garde and more comfort food style tapas like this tasty piece of pizza topped with beet and fig.
Melon ceviche with kumquat powder and coriander oil was a great palate cleanser.
Crunchy nigiri was a twist on traditional sushi and turned out to be flamed aubergine on a crunchy meringue – it actually melted in the mouth! On top were innovative soy pearls for that extra hit of flavour.
My favourite course was the tuna belly – yet another take on Japanese cuisine, the fine Chu-Toro cooked in Iberian ham fat and served on top on tapioca pearls and seaweed.
The mini airbag is another famous dish – puffed bread is stuffed with Machego cheese foam and cheese on the top, a drizzle of hazelnut oil caviar and dehydrated cheese finishes it off perfectly.
Avocado ravioli was the most beautiful dish of the night and contained crab, chipotle mayonnaise and chia seeds. I loved the checkered pattern!
The air baguette is another famous dish – it’s actually an empty crust but so crisp and a tasty and once again wrapped in Rubia Gallega – a cow that produces incredibly fine beef. Would you believe that this slightly crazy restaurant is child-friendly with many of the dishes on the menu being marked suitable for children. Well you are in a fairground style restaurant and this dish is ideal for kids.
Nordic Landscape was as pretty as a picture and the marinated aged cow with smoked cheese and vinegar powder was the perfect balance of flavours.
Tomatoes with basil and citrus was another light and fresh palate cleanser.
There’s a whole oyster menu available at Tickets but as Mr S and I aren’t great fans we opted for a mussel course instead. Probably the smallest mussels I’ve ever seen, they come from Bouchot and are served with a delicious butter emulsion.
And of course my very favourite – tomato bread.
An utterly delicious crunchy octopus covered in panko crumbs and served with kimchi mayo.
The crunchy suckling pig taco with hoisin mayonnaise and pickled cucumber is another great example of how the chef plays with other cuisines blending with the native Spanish techniques and ingredients.
Now for a true taste of Willy Wonka-style magic as we are led to a room adjacent to the main restaurant.
Welcome to candy land! Tickets actually features a dessert room behind a secret curtain.
Inside is a dreamland of candy canes, cakes and giant berries… surely a place that exists only in your imagination? Well Albert Adrià, who was voted the World’s Best pastry chef in 2015, brings this dream to life!
From the very first dessert course you are surprised and delighted, as soon as I walked in we were handed The Rose. The perfectly formed flower contained a sphere of rosewater gelatin with spherified lychee and raspberry. Going full circle from the olives, this was another flavour pop, though this time perfectly sweet and floral rather than salty.
We were fortunate enough to sit on the counter to watch as dessert after dessert course rolled out.
In a cute pumpkin shell was pumpkin and mandarin sorbet.
Disguised as a piece of cheese is the famous Tickets cheesecake. The ‘rind’ is actually chocolate and the filling is brie and cream cheese – little biscuits are the perfect accompaniment.
I’m seriously not quite sure what magic is used (but I think there might be a touch of liquid nitrogen in there somewhere) to make these but frozen Pancake and caramelized wafer, strawberries and cream foam are probably the fanciest ice cream sandwich I’ve ever had!
Finally – and yes I was insanely full – chocolate flower with coconut, passionfruit, mint with the final morsel to pass through out mouths on that epic night.
I do believe that could be the most epic meal that I’ve ever featured on SilverSpoon… with nearly thirty courses!! And was it worth it? Absolutely one of the best meals we’ve ever had in our lives – and so much more than a meal, it was truly a once in a lifetime experience.
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