Alkimia - Barcelona, Spain

Saturday, October 8th, 2011 | click here to comment

{This is an excerpt from a larger post. To read my entire post on Barcelona, click here.}

For dinner that night we were lucky enough to get a same day reservations at both Alkimia and Moo, two restaurants in the same vein serving modern Mediterranean/Catalan cuisine. We ultimately decided on Alkimia since Moo seems to be falling out of favor with foodies lately. Alkimia is located in L'Eixample, a lovely area, but not exactly bustling in the evening. We walked through the doors and were greeted with a sparsely furnished, almost gallery-like space, complete white furniture and a somber feeling. It was almost like being in a library, where you feel as though you need to keep your voice down. Still, the space is quite gorgeous and our table was set back in an alcove, which I loved.

The lights above our table were strategically positioned in order to light the food at its best. We didn't realize that until we started eating, and I spent the rest of dinner trying to position my plates to catch the light in the best possible way. When I tried to explain my gluten-freedom to our server, he looked confused, but eventually he understood. In most restaurants of that caliber, the chef will usually augment the original gluten containing dish to be just as delicious, but with something as a substitute in place of the gluten. However, at Alkimia, they simply left the gluten out. So the amuse bouche we started with, which was a deconstructed bruschetta, served as a glass filled with fresh tomato juice, and olive oil ,with a slice of bread on top, was served to me sans bread, thus making it fail completely as a composed taste. The bread would have been the perfect balance to the acidity and oil, but instead it was cold tomato water festering in my stomach, not the most ideal way to start off a meal.

Alkimia traditionally does tasting menus, choosing from a shorter or longer version. I'm not a huge fan of tasting menus because the Virgo control freak within me wants to be able to customize my meal to my taste. They were pretty accommodating about letting us pick and choose what we wanted, but it tacked on quite a bit of cost. If you eat here, I suggest doing one of the tasting menus as is, otherwise you will pay at least 100 euro more than you intended.

saffron risotto with langoustines (gluten-free)
matt's starter: chicken cannelloni with almonds béchamel and fresh salad (NOT gluten-free)

For a starter I went with the Saffron & Langoustine Risotto, a beautiful dish of deep red risotto topped with delicate langoustine. The flavor was perfection, the saltiness from the broth, with the tomato and perfectly cooked langoustine formed a wonderful harmony in my mouth. The whole thing made me really excited for the main, which for me was the sea bass with vegetables.

sea bass with confit onions and parsnip puree (gluten-free)
matt's entree: Young lamb shoulder with tender green bean and potatoes

My portion of sea bass was larger than the tasting menu version, but I didn't mind one bit. It was served with a confit onions and parsnip puree. I enjoy fish, but I wouldn't consider myself a fish lover by any means, and I finished the entire thing in short order.

Fondant chocolate with burned rum ice cream (gluten-free)
matt's dessert: Roasted apple with chocolate and eucalyptus ice cream 

For dessert I had an extremely dense chocolate mousse/ganache that was served with a burned rum ice cream. I couldn't taste rum in the ice cream at all, and as it melted, it was running off the slate plate that they served it on. Not exactly the best vessel to hold ice cream in my opinion. The ganache was amazing, rich and chocolatey, but I could only eat a small bit of it because it was just too rich after a few bites.

Some petit fours arrived after dessert and the majority contained gluten, except for a white chocolate "lollipop" that was filled with passion fruit. Amazing. I would have ordered 10 of those if they had them on the menu. Read more about my trip to Barcelona here.


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