Exsquisite dining in Barcelona: Geloch Restaurante

Geloch Restaurante is an example of fine dining done brilliantly.  It delivered a spectacular 10-course degustation menu.  Zorba and I scored each dish out of 10 – playing our favourite Master Chef judges game that we sometimes do when we go out.  Overall, Zorba and I scored Glenoch 85 out of 100 with five dishes scoring the perfect 10 out of 10 – in our scoring system that means we could eat the dish again and again and again and love it every single time.

The sophisticated dishes were served in tiny degustation serves, all beautifully presented, explained accurately in detail, and tasted gorgeous.  The dishes that didn’t get perfect scores failed to do so merely because of our palate and our own particular tastes. To other diners however, they may have been the best dishes of the menu.

Our menu consisted of the dishes below, together with our comments and score:

Rose petals with lychee cream

  • Delicate subtle flavour, teeny tiny miniscule portion
    [pictured below on gold plate on the right of the black onion cake]
Score: 6.5
Black onion cake, sweet onion foam, fried onion

  • Light, moist, savoury and sweet balanced, a lovely surprise

Score: 8.5
Carrot and orange nitro popcorn

  • Nitro smoking, Blumenthal-esque, interesting, fun
Score: 6.5
Shitake broth with spider crab ravioli and Iberian ham DO Extremadura

  • Gorgeous, salty, every mouthful was Moorish, sensational, delicious, faultless
Score: 10
Grilled red prawn with pisco, cabbage and hibiscus

  • Beautifully presented, three types of cabbage, balanced when all elements eaten together
Score: 7
Black turnip with veal marrow, egg yolk and black truffle

  • Amazing aromas, rich yet delicate, every mouthful was a taste explosion.  Beautiful to eat
Score: 10 +
Beetroot gnocchi, veal sweetbreads, codfish tripe, pardon pepper cream and carrot and passionfruit drops

  • Delicious flavour, thick balanced sauce, unusual (I don’t usually enjoy offal), but I wanted to lick the plate!
Score: 10
‘Secreto Iberico’ 36 cooked sous-vide with selected roots and seasoned mushrooms

  • Unbelievable. Sensational tender rich beautiful pork shoulder slivers with shitake mushrooms, porcini powder, with yucca foam [yucca is a kind of root vegetable that tastes a little like a turnip]
Score: 10 +
Assorted cheese course with banana-honey, coffee crumble, caramalised endive leaves and baked aubergine sorbet

  • All flavours worked really well together.  Unusual to have a sorbet that tastes of eggplant, but I really enjoyed it
Score: 9.5
Toasted wheat ice cream, milk foam, orange textures

  • Smooth creamy ice cream, shards of orange looked like rice, not overly sweet.
Score: 9
Bread was toasted crunchy and quite dry, almost like a crostini.
Lovely to eat, hopeless to use to mop up sauces.
Score: 8
Wine:  Lalama Ribeira SacraA small particular winery in rural Spain was smooth, luscious and gorgeous without being too strong or too gusty. At less then 30 euro a bottle, it was an excellent recommendation from our waitress Score: 9

Our total bill was 168 Euro. Quite expensive, but then again, when you think about the quality of what we were served, I thought it was cheaper than what you would pay for a similar experience in Australia.

The restaurant was intimate, classy, and overall, it was a fantastic fine dining experience.

FACT FILE

Glenoch Restaurant
C. Bailén, 56, Barcelona
Tel: +34 93 265 82 98
e-mail: restaurant@gelonch.es

My top 5 restaurants around the world

This list for my favourite restaurants I have had the delectable pleasure of experiencing across the parts of the world I have travelled to.  All these restaurants below hold special food memories for me.  Disclaimer: This list is subject to change at any time :)

There are many, many fabulous restaurants and cafes that I’ve dined at – and many that I haven’t – but the ones I have listed have stood out from the crowd.  Here’s why:

Astrid y Gaston:  This restaurant was highly recommended in the trusty Lonely Planet under the heading “Splurge”.  Mum and Dad happened to be in Lima the same time Hubs (long time buddy) and I were there (it was a weird fluke – check out this post for more).  The restaurant ambience was oldy-worldy formal with a dedicated entrance reception and waiters wearing white gloves in the main dining area.  The service was impeccable and every dish that our party of six had made everyone ooh-and-aaah with delight.  This restaurant is one that we keep talking about over and over again.

Cape Lodge:  Conde Naste Traveller magazine voted this one of the top ten boutique hotels in the world and it’s easy to see why.  It is fine dining done with understated elegance.  Tables nicely spaced apart, the wait staff are well briefed and carry out their duties like European professionals, and the restaurant is beautifully appointed with views over a little lake (aka a dam).  Head Chef Tony Howell changes the menu daily to reflect the fresh produce he has been able to source that day.  It is magnificent for dinner and breakfast.

Irati:  This tapas bar with a restaurant out the back was a recommendation given by a local more than 12 years ago and it was so good back then we ate there twice.  When Hubs and I were in Barcelona in 2010, we went back and it was so good, we ate there twice!  The tapas are delicious and plentiful.  The restaurant has modern exquisitely executed dishes that won’t disappoint.  Price point was higher than average, but not hideously expensive.

Yin Yang:  After reading a review in Gourmet Traveller or Conde Naste where the Australian critic named this restaurant as serving “one of the best meals of my life”, I made Zorba and I a reservation. Classed as a private kitchen, owner Margaret Xu grows her own organic produce that she prepares sophisticated five course meals with.  The restaurant is tiny with only four tables on the ground floor.  The staff were attentive, each course was delicious yet unusual – think waterless soup – and the complete dining experience was one to savour.  Zorba also surprised me by proposing at a jewellery store in Hong Kong an hour before our dinner, so really, we could have eaten baked beans on stale bread and loved it. There as a lot of love in the air that night.  Yin Yang is expensive (especially when you have two bottles of wine with your meal!). It has had some vastly mixed reviews on Trip Advisor recently, but it gets a big thumbs up from me.

The Press Club:  Owned by Australian-Cypriot celebrity chef George Colombaris, the Press Club is a wonderful experience.  Fine dining, sophisticated menu and dishes, and a buzzy happening atmosphere. Angie, the maitre de, has been there for years and it excellent at her job.  The elements of each dish are vastly complex – some a little unnecessary (like liquid chips = lines of mashed potatoes, oh come on!).  The Sommelier was really helpful with our wine choice.  We had the degustation menu over five hours.  It is a real night out. Expensive, but worth it. Just once (or twice).

This list is likely to change after our trip to the Mother Country in a couple of weeks.  In fact, it is hard to believe that there aren’t any restaurants in Italy that feature in my top five.  I guess because there are so many great classic honest trattorias and restaurants all over Italy, choosing one would be near impossible.  Still, I’ll be doing some research to update this list soon ;)

I’d love to hear your favourite food experiences and why – leave me a comment!

Our last day in Barcelona

Happy Birthday Madeline! It was Hubs’ mum’s birthday today and our last day in Barcelona.  It was also Hubs’ last day with her mum – they won’t see each other until our adventure is over in December.  Unless of course Madeline follows through on her threat that she is going to come to Buenos Aires to stay with us for a month because she will have free accommodation (with us)!!  Cheeky!!

I was very boring on our last day – I spent the day doing things necessary – like going to the post office, shopping, washing, and writing this blog!  Hubs and Madeline caught a cable car to a nice park, had a nice long siesta, and got their things together ready for departure tomorrow.

I was so looking forward to dinner!  For Madeline’s birthday, we decided we’d have dinner at Irati, the tapas bar and restaurant where we had delicious tapas a few nights ago.  I ate at the restaurant – albeit 10 years ago – and it was sensational.  Really, it was so fabulous that I remembered the name of the restaurant and had it engrained into my brain so I could return there some day. 

We were a little early for dinner and resisted the temptation to have tapas and went for a walk instead.  It started to drizzle, then rain, which was not part of the plan!  So we hopped from awning to portico to awning, as well as in and out of shops to stay dry. The restaurant opened at 8.30pm, so we booked a table for that time. 

By 8.30pm we were all famished and I for one was so looking forward to an unforgettable meal.  I ordered Madeline and I a bottle of house Cava, after all, it was her birthday and she enjoyed the bottle of bubbles we had at Picasso’s restaurant, Classic Gotic, the other night.

Some little hors d’ourves came out, three tiny chorizo sausages on a skewer, and they were very more-ish. Luckily there was only one each.  The bread was fresh and still warm from the oven and it was hard not to eat it all and fill up on bread.  I ordered Japanese style ravioli with a crab filling for starters and roast medallions of pork with rosemary ice-cream for mains – needless to say both were sensational.  Particularly the pork – teamed with rosemary ice-cream, it really was a dish to behold and one I’ll remember for a long time.

Hubs had clams cooked in a herb sauce to start, followed by sirloin steak with foir gras for mains.  She really enjoyed both her dishes and would not share any of her clams because she said that they were too good!  She did however let me dip my bread into the sauce they were cooked in so I could taste that!

Madeline had warmed marinated anchovies for starters and cod for mains – and she enjoyed both her dishes. Her anchovies were really beautiful.  Tasting them made me miss Zorba because he loves that kind of food. In fact, he would have loved eating in Irati – - well, all of Spain really.

For dessert we shared one serve of rice pudding. I wanted to compare how the Spanish made it compared to the best rice pudding in the world that we had home delivered in Alexandria (Egypt) that Hubs just loves.  I thought it was lovely and a good comparison – Hubs did not agree, which is precisely what I was expecting.  AS IF anything would be as good as what she gets in Alexandria!  I will say that it is hard to compare – sitting in a classy restaurant with the rice pudding served in posh crockery, as opposed to rice pudding being home delivered in Chinese takeaway style plastic tubs… Not quite the same experience. Taste wise though, they are both pretty good, probably with the Alexandria version taking the prize, by a nose.

All of us were very satisfied with our dining experience and it was a great way to celebrate Madeline’s birthday and our last night together in Barcelona.

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Beautiful Barcelona

After a horrendous 17 hour journey, we were in Barcelona, one of my all time favourite cities (out of Italy and Australia!).  It has been ten years between visits to this city and I was looking forward to getting reacquainted with this great place.

We stayed in two hotels in Barcelona, the first one was Cuitat Vella www.hotelcuitatvella.com on Tallers 66, just near La Ramblas, where we stayed for three nights.  The hotel was 3-star and almost brand new.  And we get free bottled water, as much as we want! Yay!  Our triple room for Hubs, Madeline her mother, and myself was too small.  We were forever tripping over ourselves.  The shower was fantastic and the bathrooms lovely and new.

We were all dead on our first day – too tired from over night travel without any sleep.   I had three hours to kill before Hubs and her mum Madeline arrived from the airport, and I couldn’t sleep because our hotel room wasn’t ready.  I went for a walk along La Ramblas and the memories of my previous trips to Barcelona came flooding back. It was just how I remembered!  I had a delicious coffee with chocolate mousse at the famous Cafe de L’Opera on La Ramblas – oh how I’ve missed good coffee!!  I bought some fridge magnets to add to my ever growing collection, and had a look in a few shops. I was LOVING being back in Europe. 

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When Hubs and Madeline arrived, we all went for a walk and found a restaurant / tapas bar off La Ramblas and had some lunch Aaka Dinay on carrer Petxina.  Delicious selection of tapas – spanish omelette, baby octopus, garlic prawns, bread with rubbed tomato and a prawn and mango salad.  YUM! 

For dinner, Madeline decided to stay at the hotel and sleep.  Hubs and I went for a big walk around the Gothic quarter before deciding to eat at a restaurant on La Ramblas.  We knew it was touristy, but we both fancied sitting somewhere lively and watching the world go past.  We shared paella and it was ok, not rubbish and not award winning. 

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Day two was a big sight-seeing day on the tourist bus. We went everywhere – all over the city. We chose to get off at the Park Guella – Gaudi’s famous park.  It was lovely and Madeline really enjoyed it.  We also caught the bus to the beaches to check them out – the city beaches didn’t exist last time I was in Barcelona.  They were nice and we made a plan to spend at least one day at the beach.  The port was really nice too with loads of shops and nice walk way to get there.   Barcelona is really a beautiful city and we loved the sightseeing.

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For dinner, we walked around a bit and couldn’t decide where to eat, so we went back to where we had lunch, Aaka Dinya.  Hubs and Madeline had paella and I had veal.  Both our meals were really tasty.

Day three was dedicated to my favourite sport, shopping!  We caught the metro to Diagonal Mar, a big shopping complex in the financial district.  I didn’t buy too much, but did get some essential items – a pair of cotton cargo pants, a sports t-shirt, and an impractical pair of cool white light cargo style pants.  They were so cheap and look good – and as Hubs said, I’d keep them clean.  Hubba got a good deal on a pair of Geox shoes, great for walking, and Madeline bought a present for someone back home.   We were worn out after shopping and needed a siesta. 

Maybe it’s been ten years since I’ve been to Barcelona – and I still remember the name of a restaurant I had an unbelievable meal in – Irati.   I looked up the name on trip advisor and was delighted to find it still exists and even more delighted to find that it had a very good rating on the website.  That’s where we went for tapas, Irati on cadenal Casanas, 17 – and it was delicious!  It’s only a small narrow place but it’s always packed and it has a small restaurant out the back.  We decided to go there to have dinner one night, maybe on Madeline’s birthday on 14th Aug.

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Day four was when we had to move hotels and checked into Hotel Atlantis, around the corner from where we were.  As we suspected, our room wasn’t ready, but we had prepared for that and off we went to the beach.  The beach was easy to get to, only a few stops on the metro, and it was lovely to lie out in the sun again and swim in the Med.  We had a yummy lunch by the beach, seafood of course, in the afternoon.

Dinner was in Picasso’s first studio – which is now a restaurant called Classic Gotic, on carrer de la Plata in the Gothic Quarter (Merce area). I was excited to be eating there as this is the restaurant my spanish dive instructor in Dahab told me to go to.  Yay! We found it and were about to have a nice meal.  For the occasion I ordered a bottle of house cava, or Spanish champagne, and was delighted that Madeline was enthusiastic about sharing it with me. Hubs doesn’t drink and I was happy someone else was with us so I could share a bottle!

Roast pork ribs served with vegetables was dinner and mine was delicious!  The meat fell off the bone and was very tender and tasty.  At less than 9 euro, it was cheap too.  Happy days.

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Our last two days in Barca (as the football team is affectionately known as – Barsa), were spent doing whatever we wanted. I had my legs waxed standing up – a world first for me.  She used sugar instead of wax and it took ten minutes – with good results. At 11 euro, I was stoked – cheaper than back home.  I also went to the post office, did some shopping, etc etc.  I bought the coolest shoes!  Vespa adidas Italian runners!  I love them!

It was a nice relaxing day. Hubs and Madeline went shopping too and they had a great day together.

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Finally we had tickets to the traditional Flamenco dancing show on at Cordobes, supposedly the best flamenco dancing show in the city.  At 37 euro each, my expectations were quite high.  The show was good, the dancing done with proper vigour and a lot of passion, but some how, it didn’t meet my expectations and I couldn’t help but feel a tad disappointed.   Madeline enjoyed herself and I was really happy she had.  She was also over the moon because she found some Dr Scholl shoes she loved, that are super comfy, and on sale!  Three ticks from Madeline! Style, comfort, and a bargain!

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It rained!! First time I have seen rain in a couple of months!  I am never happy when it rains, but it was nice that the city was washed, so to speak.  We found a little tapas restaurant on our way back to the hotel and didn’t have much – some olives, prosciutto like ham, and some bread with tomato. That was enough for us.

Our last day in Europe – Madeline’s birthday.  I was boring and went to the post office, did some washing, and a spot of shopping in between.  Madeline and Hubs did some sightseeing and caught the cable car to a nice park.  They had a great day!  Tonight is dinner at Irati and I can’t wait!!

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Tomorrow nice and early, we fly to Quito in South America!!  A new continent, a new country, and new adventures await! Hurrah!

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