Mo­ments to en­joy


Virtuozity - - Fine Dining -

IF YOU HAD TO choose one of the best restau­rants to visit in Barcelona, Mo­ments would be near the top of the list. The sig­na­ture res­tau­rant of the city’s Man­darin Ori­en­tal, Mo­ments is run by ac­claimed chef Carme Rus­calleda, and has gar­nered three Miche­lin stars since it opened in 2005. In­deed, ac­quir­ing Miche­lin stars is some­thing that Rus­calleda knows about; she’s the only woman in the world to be awarded seven stars.

Any­way, Mo­ments of­fers neo-tra­di­tional Cata­lan cui­sine based on top-qual­ity in­gre­di­ents, pre­sented in an in­no­va­tive way. Prod­ucts from the Maresme area form the ba­sis of the menu and they shine for them­selves, never mind the pre­cise pre­sen­ta­tion and at­ten­tion to de­tail in the dishes. In a nut­shell, it’s star cui­sine wor­thy of the ac­co­lades.

Lo­cated on the ho­tel’s mez­za­nine level and de­signed by Span­ish de­signer Pa­tri­cia Urquiola, Mo­ments seats 45 for lunch and din­ner. Pri­vate din­ing at the chef’s ta­ble, for up to 10 guests, be­hind a sheer cur­tain, presents an in­ti­mate view over the kitchen. To com­ple­ment the a la carte ser­vice, Mo­ments of­fers a tast­ing menu op­tion, and the Club Mig­dia menu, a faster op­tion from Tues­day to Friday lunchtime.

The tast­ing menu, known as ‘The Trip’, is the one to go for. In­spired by the Man­darin Ori­en­tal Group, the idea is to take guests on a culi­nary tour of the world, stop­ping at cities in which the group has ho­tels. All in all, there are 14 cour­ses, along with a ‘sou­venir’ course to take away, fea­tur­ing beau­ti­fully fin­ished cook­ies and bis­cuits baked in the shapes of fa­mous global mon­u­ments. Wine is paired beau­ti­fully with each dish.

The jour­ney be­gins, nat­u­rally, in Barcelona, with an in­no­va­tive dish that sees straw­ber­ries and an­chovies draped del­i­cately across Span­ish bread. Strong and fishy, it’s cer­tainly a dar­ing start to the meal, but the an­chovies play ex­ceed­ingly well against the tart­ness of the straw­ber­ries. Next stop is Hong Kong, which re­veals an ex­pertly crafted pork dim­sum with spicy sauce, and af­ter that is Paris, where guests are treated to a foie gras, green cel­ery, ap­ple and Ar­magnac mac­a­roon.

The menu twists and turns from Tokyo and Madrid, through Mi­lan and New York, to Bangkok and Shang­hai, be­fore stop­ping off in Lon­don for some cheese, and end­ing in Mar­rakech for a sweet and spicy dessert. The dishes are too nu­mer­ous and var­ied to men­tion, but the com­mon thread is that each small bite is a play­ful take on what a stand­out ex­am­ple of a cer­tain coun­try’s cui­sine can be. There are mini burg­ers, pita breads, cock­tails and more, each more in­no­va­tive than the last. Some re­quire sev­eral wait­ing staff to sur­round a ta­ble of two sim­ply to pre­pare. The sense of oc­ca­sion is sim­ply breath­tak­ing.

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