Chefs: Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro and Eduard Xatruch
#55 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants of 2017
Miele One To Watch Award of 2017
Visited: October 20th, 2016 – Lunch Service
After indulging in the restaurants of Porto, Lisbon, Spanish Basque Country and Andalucia, my gastronomic pilgrimage ended at Disfrutar in Barcelona. Barcelona was the very city that my husband and I fell in love with during our first visit in Europe back in 2010. To my surprise, I have definitely saved one of the best restaurants for last!
Disfrutar is ran by three outstanding chefs namely, Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro and Eduard Xatruch, who all were head chefs at probably the most legendary restaurant of all time, elBulli in Roses, Catalonia. What these brilliant chefs brought to Disfrutar was not a replica of elBulli, but their own personal interpretation and impeccable utilization of familiar flavours that were expressed in the most imaginative and exciting manner.
The restaurant offered two distinct tasting menus, “Classic” which focuses on the classic dishes of the restaurant, and “Festival” which focuses on newly created dishes. Since it was our first time at Disfrutar, we chose the Classic menu of about 18-courses and opted to elevate it to the “Gran Classic” menu which offered about 25-courses.
It has been a habit of ours to drink aperitivos (aperitifs) before a tasting menu as it opens up the appetite and taste buds.
“Fer el Vermut” a saying in Catalan that translates, “to do vermouth”. It is a tradition of drinking the aperitivo Vermouth before a big lunch while socializing with family and friends. Spanish red vermouth of “Vermut Negre” has the perfect balance of bitters, sweetness and botanicals.
The Tableside Presentation of Disfrutar’s Macaroni Carbonara
The next three dishes utilized Hare as the main ingredient.
What I loved about the desserts at Disfrutar was that they were able to maintain and respect the natural flavours of their ingredients. Fresh flavours were highlighted, and it was not overly sweetened.
“Tarta al Whisky” Sequence
In this interactive sequence, Disfrutar played with our sense of smell and taste. This sequence was a deconstruction of Whisky cake into separate components of whisky, hazelnuts, egg and cream. Our host brought out a bottle of Lagavulin Single Malt Whisky, in which he poured tiny splashes into our palms. We were then instructed to rub the whisky all over our hands, and then smell our hands to get all the oaky and spicy aromas of the whisky that will interact with the next dessert bites.
For the grand finale, a cotton plant was brought to our table. Our host instructed us that for our final bite, we have to pull out the cocoa-dusted cotton puffs from the plant.
We were highly impressed by the quality and creativity of our overall experience at Disfrutar. The Chefs were masters at delivering profoundly creative dishes while maintaining an utmost respect for the natural flavours of their ingredients. A depth of maturity and elegance were present in every dish. The dishes were exciting, new, and stimulated our senses!
The service at Disfrutar was exceptional. From the moment we walked into the restaurant, we instantaneously felt welcomed and special as were greeted by the friendly staff and the Chefs, all waiting for our arrival. Every dish was carefully explained to us and the staff was attentive to our needs.
I forgot to mention that the word “Disfrutar,” is a beautiful Spanish word that means “to enjoy”. Indubitably, we enjoyed and most of all, loved our experience at Disfrutar. It was one of those experiences where we were not expecting a lot, but they inherently blew our minds with the delivery of outstanding flavours coupled with their sense of fun and creativity.
A trip to Barcelona is not complete without a stop at Disfrutar. This restaurant is our favourite restaurant in Barcelona.
Carrer de Villarroel, 163, 08036 Barcelona, Spain