Tast­ing notes

El Bulli pas­try mas­ter Al­bert Adrià pairs his mind-bend­ing desserts with a posh cham­pagne bar

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - Contents - Amy Bryant

The chef from El Bulli brings cakes to Lon­don

WHEN, BACK IN JULY, I met Al­bert Adrià to talk about his new restau­rant in Lon­don, it was al­most too hot for ice cream, let alone cheese­cake. The cap­i­tal, like the rest of the coun­try, was swel­ter­ing (re­mem­ber that?). It must have felt like home for the Span­ish chef, who now has six Barcelona restau­rants fol­low­ing the 2011 clo­sure of El Bulli, where he and older brother Fer­ran held three Miche­lin stars (not to men­tion sev­eral ‘world’s best’ ac­co­lades) for their ground­break­ing cook­ing.

His first venue out­side Spain has just launched – Cakes & Bub­bles, in Ho­tel Café Royal on Re­gent Street. Serv­ing sweet dishes only (along with plenty of sparkling wines), it is the cul­mi­na­tion of his 23 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence as a pas­try chef. In the past, Adrià has jok­ily be­moaned the 35-course El Bulli menu for leav­ing din­ers too full for dessert; now he has their un­di­vided at­ten­tion, of­fer­ing sig­na­ture cre­ations in­clud­ing the cheese­cake made fa­mous at Tick­ets in Barcelona. It mas­quer­ades (spoiler alert) as a hum­ble round of gauzewrapp­ed cheese, but is made with white choco­late, as well as real cheese. ‘Your brain tells you it’s savoury,’ says Adrià, ‘but to taste it, it’s sweet.’

Plat­ing up the un­ex­pected is his forte (liq­uid olives are an­other clas­sic), and a choco­late ‘cork’ is bound for In­sta­gram star­dom, but even the ba­sics re­ceive Adrià’s Mi­das touch. His team spent six months learn­ing to make choco­late, from scratch, to his high stan­dards. ‘Per­fec­tion doesn’t ex­ist,’ he ad­mits, ‘but when I fo­cus on only one thing, I want to make it the best’. cake­sand­bub­bles.co.uk

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