Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Ferran Adria is the owner and head chef of El Bulli restaurant north of Barcelona, not far from Girona, and there are not many people who haven't heard of him or the restaurant. El Bulli was voted the world's best restaurant for the 4th time this year, and receives over two million requests for just 8000 places per year. Spectacular creations and amazing techniques are now re-created in Adria's new book "A day at elBulli", and the man himself is currently touring to promote the book - on Monday 24th November he is guest (and even answering questions) at Queen Elizabth Hall in the UK, and needless to say they are expecting a great turnout. Adria has also branched into fast food in Barcelona itself with his Fast Good restaurant.
From what I have been told, the whole experience of eating at elBulli is a tirade against the senses, and something like 32 courses are served throughout the course of the evening, all with accompanying wines and an excellent waiting staff. Barcelona itself has spawned some "creative" kitchens such as Comerç 24 and the like, with chefs working under Adria also looking to cash in on the concept. So why the title of this post?
My question is this - if you were one of the lucky 8000 people of 2 million that managed to actually get a place on a table - and you can't choose the date, by the way, it's pot luck, and also is around 2 years from now, such is the waiting list - then given the wait, the hype and the price tag, do you not think that you would force yourself to be pleased and convince yourself that it had been such a wonderful experience, even if it wasn't?
I have never been to el Bulli, and won't be applying to be one of the hopefuls (if I did get a place, I'd buy the Christmas lottery too) and at the same time I'm not belittling the achievements of the man and his empire. However, there is just a small part of me that thinks that surely 8000 people can't walk away completely and utterly satisfied ? That wouldn't be human, right? So as I say, if you managed to get in, paid your money but had that niggling thought that it was going to be a lot better than it was, would you say anything?! Go on, be honest!
For more information on Barcelona, see this Barcelona Eixample Guide. And for your next trip to Barcelona, consider these Barcelona apartments for groups as a great alternative to your normal hotel booking.