Tickets Bar : The Grand Illusion
I’ve been back from Barcelona for a few days, and I’m still in awe of my meal at Tickets Bar. The restaurant is the creation of Albert Adrià and his brother Ferran, whose legendary molecular cuisine at elBulli earned him a reputation as one of the greatest chefs in the world.
This place is the very opposite of the kind we’ve grown accustomed to see from starred chefs. Upon arrival, I was taken aback by the restaurant’s eclectic decor, from the strong lighting to the ticket box-like cocktail counter and imposing TV showing an FC Barcelona match, not forgetting the dozens of meticulously aligned golden mechanical cats – the type you would expect to find in a Chinese restaurant. The waiters, dressed like lion tamers, circulate with ease among the mismatched and colourful tables. We instantly felt immersed in an illusionist universe imagined and created by the Adrià duo.
And this strange atmosphere follows suit in the plates. All the dishes, offered in tapas format, were absolutely exquisite and spectacularly well executed and presented.
Our meal began with pescaito frito (fried fish skin), espardenyes de nori, and mimetico peanuts, all of which set the tone for what was to come.
Our enchantment continued with one of elBulli’s signature dishes, the famous marinated olives, with flavours that quite literally exploded in our mouths! A true delight for the palate, provoking a series of admiring «ohs» and «ahs». It was so delicious, we asked for seconds.
Ever-more flavourful and original dishes continued to arrive: air baguette with Joselito ham, ostra soba (oysters), foie escabeche (foie gras), mini airbags de queso (mini burgers), canelon buey de mar (cannelloni). What a feast!
And although we were more than full, we couldn’t resist a few desserts: chocolate bites followed by tartes tatin in cones.
Pure happiness, and easily one of the best meals of my life. And rarely has such high gastronomy been so affordable (from €45 to €60 per person). A true magical culinary adventure that I will not soon forget.
(photos © Josée Noiseux)
Avinguda del Paral·lel, 164, Barcelona
Open Tuesday to Saturday, from 7:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m