1676864574 Why Albert Adria returns in Enigma to the tasting menu

Why Albert Adrià returns in Enigma to the tasting menu of 220 euros and 25 dishes

It was closed for 27 months during the pandemic. Last June, Albert Adrià (L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, ​​​​​​53 years old) opened Enigma (Sepúlveda, 38-40, Barcelona), his most creative restaurant, with a lunchtime format at noon and afternoon drinks with caps. “This model was brutal, it saved me from losses. The food formula with drinks is very good. When you eat you must drink and when you drink you must eat. People came to have fun, but the place could no longer accommodate so many people. We weren’t prepared for a church service in the morning and evening,” Adrià comments to EL PAÍS. Before the end of the summer, and despite the fact that he had resolved not to return home at 1am every day, he flipped it and began serving only dinner from 6:30pm to 10:00pm. Monday to Friday, menu card, choice of 35 dishes.

Now the rudder is in the hand again: From March 6, the menu will be deleted and only a tasting menu of around 25 passes will be offered at a price of 220 euros (excluding drinks, including taxes). “I’m going back to the traditional model, I’m cooking again, I’m living a second youth because now I’m cooking with calmness,” he says with relief. He has left behind his role as restaurant manager, the uncertainty and the suffocation of having to close the five establishments that made up the elBarri Group due to the health crisis. He owned three — Mexican Hoja Santa, vermouth bar Bodega 1900 and haute cuisine Enigma — and the other two — creative and casual Tickets and Nikkei cuisine Pakta — belonged to the Iglesias family, owners of the emblematic Rías de Galicia. Of all, only the Enigma has survived, with a maximum capacity of 48 guests. “I tried to overtake him but it was very difficult. Who will want to stay with this local monster with so much uncertainty? I didn’t want to stay at the front any longer, hence all the tests we’ve been doing over these months,” adds the chef, who sits in the darkened rear of the restaurant, which has now been converted into a thinking area and where over the years the Splendor was , before 2020 the diner ended the gastronomic experience with music and drinks.

More informationRabbit “rablé” with anchovies from the Cantabrian Sea, one of the proposals of the Enigma restaurant (Barcelona).Rabbit “rablé” with anchovies from the Cantabrian Sea, one of the proposals of the Enigma restaurant (Barcelona).

The restaurant works. It has also given it a boost to attract a specific customer profile by regaining the Michelin star last November, which was awarded the year it opened in 2017 and lost due to the closure. “It was an encouragement for the team. It gave us strength and made us known, because haute cuisine thrives on tourists,” continues Adrià. He admits that no roadmap has been set up to gain more recognition than the French tire leader: “Setting such targets would be pedantic and unnecessary. Getting stars takes many years, and you have to have respect for those who fought for it. It took Atrio 15 years to get the third star.” However, while tasting a lobster sauce with a chef-improved spoon, he confesses that he only works to keep the restaurant full: “The guides help, but this The most important thing is that behind it there is a kitchen and a base It.” That’s what he’s doing now, doing tests, testing recipes, honing the style of the dishes and looking for a minimalist and elegant aesthetic. “The menu has to sit well, it can’t be heavy everything has to be measured and balanced. It has to stand up to my stomach, which is sensitive,” he explains.

Adrià arrives first thing every morning. The light from outside penetrates this 700 square meter space, a kind of futuristic labyrinth, the work of the RCR Arquitectes studio in Olot (Girona), winner of the Pritzker Prize 2017, designed with innovative technology and materials such as synthetic stone. The space reflects the message that Ferran Adrià’s little brother wanted to convey with his kitchen proposal: creativity and mystery. There is little cheating: the kitchen is visible and, after a welcome aperitif, a 43-strong team queues up at the entrance to honor the diner.

Albert Adrià with his team in the kitchen of the Enigma restaurant on February 8, 2023.Albert Adrià, with his team in the kitchen of the Enigma restaurant on February 8, 2023. Albert Garcia

He assures that the menu will change, that he wants to entrust almost everything to the temporality of the product. Among the dishes, a squid shell cut by hand and painted with the fat of Iberian ham and caviar, or a soy milk burrata – during the pandemic he was working on this type of preparation with a London company – with broad beans, a slice of black truffle, oil and Salt. Other notable snacks include the gelatinized Thai chicken and coconut soup with sea urchin, the seawater-cured lobster with its own coral soup, the artichoke hummus wrapped in some pressed artichoke leaves, with Moroccan lemon and fresh mint, or the hunting sequence: a dango ( traditional Japanese dumpling) Tapioca and kálix with hare consommé, a rablé (loin) of hare with Cantabrian anchovies and some endive, half prepared with animal sauce and the rest with foie gras and raspberries.

Desserts seek the same balance and lightness in a crispy shiso leaf, orange sorbet, and crunchy beetroot, or a tangerine tart, green cardamom toffee, and hazelnut ice cream. Adrià is happy with the results: “Well, there is no doubt. Enigma will be a world reference”.