My husband and i made our reservation around 6 months before our trip, and based our whole trip to girona around our meal here. And it was most definitely worth making the effort. From start to finish it was nothing short of perfection.
The setting is stunning. Just off a little side street on the outskirts of the city it looks very unpreposessing, but go inside and the magic begins. The kitchen is based in the most beauriful old building which overlooks a court yard, but the restaurant is altogether more modern. The tables are set around the centre piece which is an indoor forest of live trees. Bringing the Roca brother's philosophy of nature and beauty right to your table.
A glass of the Roca brothers' own cava starts the experience. The wine menu is actually so big i would be more appropriately called a library. But it is the most comprehensive and best priced i have ever seen. Anything from 15 euros and up for a bottle. We considered the matching wine flight but in the end we enjoyed the cava so decided to have a bottle. It was 20 euros.
When it comes to the food, all i really need to say is that it is challenging, innovative, delicious perfection. There are two menus - either the Tasting Menu which is around 7 courses or the Feast Menu which is around 15 courses. I say "around" because we chose the Feast Menu but had at least 5 things to eat before we'd even got to the start of the menu.
One thing i would say is that i would advise people not to delve too deeply into every single course on the menu. Part of the joy of the El Celler experience is being surprised. So go with high expectaions and prepare for them to be exceeded in every way and let their food surprise you.
The Tasting Menu is 135 euros and the wine flight is 55. The Feast Menu is 165 euros and the wine flight is 85. Taxes are included but no gratuity is added as standard, this is left to you which makes a nice change from the london restaurants.
The courses come in steady procession and at every stage were well explained by our fantastic waitress. She was very friendly and definitely added to the overall experience. She could obviously see we had a genuine interest in food and when we asked if the Roca Brothers were in the restaurant she said "yes of course". She said that they are all there pretty much every night, which was lovely to see. So often now the chefs lend their name to the experience but not always their physical presence.
We were offered a tour of the kitchen and we obviously jumped at the chance. As we walked in both Joan and Jordi were working together. We were keen not to get in their way, but they couldn't have been any more generous with their time. They invited us in and offered to have a photo with us. Josep also spent a lot of time in the restaurant and when to each table to greet guests.
We were there around 3 hours, maybe more, and it was truly a night to remember. We felt very fortunate to have the opportunity to go, and even more fortunate when the experience turned out to be far in excess of what we could ever have hoped for.
So if you are going, then do so with a serious appetite and prepare to be surprised and amazed by their innovation and skill. A fabulous experience.
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