November 26, 2019
Disfrutar is the 24th restaurant on the quest. It was 9th on the list in 2019 and 18th on the list in 2018. It is also a Michelin 2-star restaurant.
In Spanish, Disfrutar means “to enjoy” and that’s just what I planned to do.
As we arrive, we’re brought past the bar, past the kitchen where we are introduced to the head chef and the rest of the staff, and into the main dining area that holds about 12 tables. It has a cozy and comfortable feel. (Although not quite comfortable enough. I found my seat too low, requiring me to awkwardly stretch my legs out and becoming increasingly uncomfortable towards the end of the meal.)
Three chefs, who used to work at El Bulli, lead the team at Disfrutar. For those not familiar with the type of restaurant El Bulli was, it was a hotbed of molecular gastronomy. Those origins were definitely reflected in the meal at Disfrutar where dishes often subverted traditional expectations through deconstructions and reconstructions.
The meal kicked off with a number of light snacks. A passion fruit foam in the shape of a lady finger. A lychee served on rose petals. And a freeze-dried beet foam. The molecular gastronomy is off to a delicious start.
A mango jelly in the shape of a mango slice. Smoked homemade apple cider. A cheese mille-feuille. A gazpacho sandwich that looked like an American cheese slice on white bread. Tasty.
Next, a small fish dish with olive and olive oil. Black celeriac that was slow cooked, allowing for the caramelization of the celery root. I enjoyed that dish. And then the egg with the top cut off. A popular staple of the high-end restaurant.
Deconstructed ceviche, which, while tasty, didn’t quite bring all the flavours of a ceviche together. The razor clams were cool and yummy. After that, seaweed ravioli.
It’s crazy to think that after all this, we’re only halfway through the menu.
Macaroni alla carbonara where the noodles weren’t made of pasta. Instead, they were clear. I should’ve made note of what they were actually made of. It still tasted like pasta.
A tomato “polvorón” (a powdered milk candy) with arbquina Caviaroli, which is a sphere of oil with the same texture as caviar. I’ve really come to enjoy tomatoes and tomato flavours in various forms.
A “suquet” (fish stew) langoustine with a “suquet” cappuccino, which was the soup served in a small cup. Rich and delicious.
A trio of hare dishes: a consommé served in a whisky-style glass; hare laksa; and hare and foie gras bonbons.
The next dish was a very sweet bed of corn spheres on a bed of foie gras. The texture was soft and maybe a little unsettling.
The ultimate main course was the pibil squab with a corn puree.
Whew. Of course, we’re not done yet. There’s still the dessert courses.
Pandan to start, served in a freeze-dried ice cream over sorbet. Followed by cheesecakes cornets. And then chocolate peppers, which weren’t peppers, but looked like them. A hint of spice but only just.
The “Tarta al whisky” was an interesting and delightful experience. They poured Lagavulin 16 over our hands so that as we enjoyed the dessert, we would smell the campfire.
This was followed by a coffee swiss roll, which looked like a bone with marrow.
Last but not least was the cocoa and mint cotton (candy) that was served on branches with actual cotton. We were directed to which was the real cotton (not edible) and the cotton candy (very edible).
Thirty courses by the time all was said and done and yet, it didn’t feel like too much.
Disfrutar didn’t offer up a wine pairing, which was a bit disappointing but it worked out okay. After all these restaurants, I’ve gained some confidence in ordering something that I like or can provide the staff with enough direction to get something that’ll hit the spot. Sure enough, I managed to pick out a couple Spanish red wines for the table that were a big hit.
Gran Reserva 904 2010 from La Rioja Alta for the main courses, as I’m a big fan of wines from Rioja and Dolç 2016 from Coca i Fito for the dessert courses.
The venue felt cozy and the food didn’t disappoint. It was very creative and it was an enjoyable experience. Nearly every dish was a 9 out of 10. It would’ve been nice to have at least a couple 10 out of 10 dishes, though. If you find yourself in Barcelona, I highly recommend planning a meal here.