As we travelled 1hr from Barcelona to the small village of Sant Celoni, we remarked that it certainly takes a lot of faith to travel all this distance just for a 3hour dinner but we have been so wowed by Santi in Singapore that we were adamant we must make this philgrimage to this 3-star restaurant where Santi started.
Ambience : we specifically asked to sit in the kitchen and so we could experience
the full orchestra in motion. The sights, the sounds, the smells were all so
theatrical. The restaurant itself is set in a building dating more than 300 years old by the original Santi's family and yet, part of it is modern and part of it retains its historical heritage. This is similar to Sant's cuisine, not 100% modernise nor 100% traditional. Best described as taking the best from the past and injecting with the modern methods of the present to create what we would call "magic".
And the culinary adventure starts;
Starter of green peas marshmallow, potato with ham and breaded sea urchin. Nice play
of textures and taste. Some are fluffy, some are crispy, some are marshy, but all
Fresh tomato slice with lemon sorbet - wow, so uplifting and tingling, probably the
best tomato slice we ever had. The japanese may hv the best tomatoes in the world
but Santi has the best technique to perfecting this simple Spanish tomato.
The mackerel grilled with a tinge of salt and sweet sauce - another morsel dropped
from heaven. One pop and it brings tears of joy into your eyes.
Potato puree with razor clams and laced with chorizo oil - nice touch of french
influence. But to prevent the potato puree from just being another mashed potato,
the razor clams adds texture and the chorizo oil and red pepper adds a tinge of
sophiscation to this simpe potato puree.
We made the mistake of asking for a dash of vinegar to enhance the taragon olive
oil, and the over-zealous chef brought out 6 different kinds ranging from tomato
vinegar to italian etc, wow. We never had tomato vinegar before and it was different and really good.
Shrimp ravioli with porcino mushroom - Santi's signature. First taste of the
sweetness of the prawns but in your mouth, the porcini mushroom comes full circle.
Grilled baby squid with green peas and red orange and fennel - beautiful dish on
presentation. And the taste - another of Santi's signatures. Overwhelming and
well-balanced. Explosion of dif flavours from the semi-cooked green peas, the
intensity of the grilled baby squid, the sourness of the orange slices, wow wow wow!
Sea cucumber with wild asparagus and cauliflower sauce and a slice of tomato
cracker. Land meets sea. Yummy.
This is poetry in motion that we are witnessing and yet, we are sure we are not at
the chorus yet.
Wild mushrooms morelles in baby broad beans - the morelles has expanded and absorbed
all the sauce into itself and is no longer just a mushroom, it is a sponge of
More, we want more. This is not some funky molecular cuisine. This is premium
catalyan cooking at its finest. A true maestro at work.
Red mullet fish, lightly-grilled with truffle sauce - the king fish of the
mediteranean, nice flavour and firm texture.
Pomelo sorbet with crackling - superb, fresh, a little bitter and a new high.
Ice-cream with Meringue and rasberry - beautiful presented like gaudi's familia church.
Conclusion : tickets may have its theatrics, commerc 24 its full-flavoured tapas but
canfabes has both of these and more, it has the warm hospitality of Xavier, Matthew and his
entire team. We had so much fun laughing and talking about food with them that at
the end of the experience, we felt we were at a best friend's house and he was
cooking a feast for us. More than taste, more than presentation, dining here is warm
both from the food and from our new found friends. This is the 3rd star for can fabes, the last star for the taste of friendship that envelopes the food.
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