Tried & Tested

Restaurant review: Enoteca, Barcelona

20 Dec 2016 by Michelle Harbi
Enoteca Barcelona dining room

BACKGROUND

Enoteca is the two-Michelin starred restaurant at the Hotel Arts Barcelona. It’s led by Catalan chef Paco Perez, who holds five stars in total, including two for Miramar restaurant in his hometown of Llanca, and one for Cinco at Das Stue hotel in Berlin.

Perez took over at Enoteca in 2008, winning his first star two years later and its second in 2013. In his younger years he trained under legendary chefs Michel Guèrard and Ferran Adria.

WHERE IS IT?

On the first floor of the 44-storey luxury property, which is located at Port Olimpic marina and is easy to spot from various vantage points around the city.

THE VENUE

This is an intimate restaurant, seating 38 guests in the dining room and a further 20 on its terrace, which is open during the summer season. Inspired by its seafront setting, it’s a relaxed space, with a lounge area as you enter featuring comfy seating including a rocking chair.

It has a rustic wooden floor, well-spaced tables clad in crisp white linens but otherwise unfussily dressed, and walls lined with backlit shelving holding wines, olive oils and salts. The occasional striped cushion or banquette swathed in white fabric adds a subtle nautical touch. I visited at night in winter but imagine it’s a lovely bright spot in summer time, with sea views from the terrace.

Enoteca Barcelona terrace

THE FOOD

Perez creates inventive, beautifully conceived contemporary Mediterranean dishes using top-quality produce, with a focus on fish and seafood. Guests can choose from à la carte or tasting menus. There are more than 730 bottles on the wine list, half of which are from Spain. We had the nine-course “White truffle touches” tasting menu, which was as decadent as it sounds.

Enoteca Barcelona truffles

The meal started with an autumn consommé, truffled oyster, truffled “bikini” and a mini sweet potato brioche. The glass of chicken stock-base consommé was delicate and comforting, our waitress donning a glove to shave some Alba truffle to drop into it; the truffle was brought out on a stone slab, covered by a glass cloche, which she invited us to smell the aroma from – pretty exquisite. The “bikini” was a crisp and clever mini sandwich; the oyster was perfectly sea-fresh; and the sweet potato, topped with another sliver of truffle, exploded with flavour in the mouth.

Enoteca Barcelona oyster

That was followed by “Silky sea and mountain” with gnocchi, sea urchin, caviar and white truffle. This was unlike any gnocchi I’ve ever had, liquidising in the mouth with a lovely sweetness, counterbalanced by the tang of the sea urchin and caviar and the richness of the truffle.

Enoteca Barcelona gnocchi

Then came “Cannelloni inspiration” – Dublin Bay prawn, artichokes, pistachio, vanilla and Palo Cortado sherry – which was again a great combination of ingredients, all complementing the natural beauty of the langoustine.

Next up was truffled rice with ou de reig (Caesar’s mushroom) – one of my favourite dishes of the evening, with an incredible depth of flavour – and then a lightly braised piece of turbot with sweet potato and blank chanterelles, almost Miro-esque in its presentation.

Enoteca Barcelona truffled rice

Then to the meat dish, wagyu tenderloin with mushrooms and parsnip – the beef velvety and deep-red, slow-cooked to maximise the flavour, the accompanying parsnip purée rich and silky, with some truffle foam thrown in for good measure, just in case it wasn’t quite indulgent enough for you.

The first dessert course – cheese with almond powder, honey, figs and white truffle – was surprising and delicious; a mascarpone-based dessert that was daintily presented and refreshing. That was followed by chocolate with white truffle – a tempura bonbon, essentially a posh churro, and just as naughtily satisfying.

Enoteca Barcelona cheese dessert

Amazingly, there was still room to try the “Small memories” over coffee, which included an intricate mini white truffle cake in an edible case.

THE SERVICE

Immaculate, as you would expect in a restaurant of this level. The warm, knowledgeable team worked together seamlessly to welcome us, take our order and to deliver and explain the dishes, invariably working in pairs to bring them over, and finishing them at the table where necessary. Our main waitress was lovely, passionate about the produce, and I noticed spoke several languages with other guests.

The only hiccup was that we had to remind them that we’d like a glass of red wine with our meat course, having requested this earlier – they didn’t pick up that my companion’s glass was empty when they brought out the wagyu. I would also have liked a little more direction on which wines to pair with the dishes.

VERDICT

Competition is high is Barcelona when it comes to fine dining, but Enoteca really delivers. Fantastic cuisine in a relaxed setting with superb service. A real treat if you are seeking a place for a special occasion or to impress clients.

OPENING HOURS

Tues-Sat 1pm-3.30pm; 7.30pm-11pm; closed Sun-Mon.

PRICE

Dishes cost €35-€72. Ten-course tasting menu €170 per person, with Wine Harmony pairings €95. White Truffle Touches menu €220 per person, with wine pairings €100 (menu available in November and December only, with extension depending on the truffle season). Wine from €12 by the glass, from €48 by the bottle.

CONTACT

Hotel Arts Barcelona, Marina 19-21; tel +34 93 4838108; enotecapacoperez.com/en; hotelartsbarcelona.com; ritzcarlton.com

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