When word got out that the owners of El Bulli, the world's foremost molecular gourmand, was closing its doors to become a culinary school it sent shock waves throughout the foodie world. But promising new edible things from these old cooking sleeves, Albert and Ferran Aria alas debut a tapas-theme carnival in Barcelona's former-theater district. Under a lighted marquee spectacle, guests enter a whimsical space divided between six separate theater-theme bars with each offering a unique menu and serving style ranging from madhouse confrontational to flattery Catalan versions of snake-oil salesmen. But in lieu of useless remedies, exquisite small plate deliciousness emerges that's proves incredibly playful and far more convenient than a trip to former El Bulli ever was.
Divided between six separate eating stations, El Picoteo offers a starter menu of pan con tomate, fired whitefish with seaweed and tomato tartare served with toasted baguette. A separate oyster bar offer hand-shucked specialties as you wait of nearby counter with Joselito’s jamon specialties. Further exploration yields a ‘tapas from the sea’ space with raw clams in garlic sauce, boiled prawns and grilled carb with a secret sauce that nothing short of sublime. Conducive to Barcelona’s late-night dining scene, a separate bar serves specifically finger food of liquid ravioli with Payoyo cheese, baguette with bacon and pickled bacon pie that’s even better than it sounds.
Creators of El Bulli do lively carnival-theme tapas bar in former cabaret theater in Barcelona worthy of numerous visits.