ABaC

ABaC was the restaurant that I was most excited to try in Barcelona. It is situated inside a boutique hotel of the same name. We had an interesting time trying to figure out how to get inside the ABaC hotel complex — both the hotel and restaurant are enclosed inside of secure-looking gates. You have to dial the hotel from the call box in order to be buzzed into the complex.

Once inside, you’ll be whisked away to the serene, garden-like setting of the restaurant’s outdoor patio. Since we decided to dine at ABaC for lunch, there was hardly anyone there. We leisurely enjoyed cocktails outside and soaked up the peaceful atmosphere.

After our cocktails, we were escorted to our table indoors. The overall feel of the restaurant is contemporary, with modern furnishings and elegant yet simple decor. We decided to go with the ABaC tasting menu, which was 135 euros per person. Let’s just say that this is one of those tasting menus that will challenge your eating ability. By the 9th course, I was sufficiently full, but I pressed on and (somewhat) successfully finished my meal.

Overall judgment: 4 of 5 stars

I thought that the overall experience at ABaC was excellent. The service was impeccable, as various servers rotated in and out to bring our dishes like clockwork. The food was as interesting and innovative as I expected. The reason that I did not give ABaC five stars is that the tasting menu had some misses — not all of the dishes served were consistently good. I think that the desserts were a particular strength both in terms of taste and creativity. Onward to my recap of the meal:

Making of the passionfruit mojito, part 1. Our server prepared a passionfruit mojito for us to start off our meal with liquid nitrogen and fresh fruit.IMG_1106Making of the passionfruit mojito, part 2. It’s always fun to watch a cocktail preparation that employs the use of liquid nitrogen.

IMG_1108Finished passionfruit mojito. The resulting “mojito” had the consistency of gelato and was satisfyingly sweet.

IMG_1109Foie gras foccacia and ice cream. The foie gras appetizer was one of my favorite dishes of the meal. The ice cream was light and airy with delicate flavor, and the burger was delightfully tender and rich.

IMG_1110 Foie gras butter with crumbled sweet corn. The sweet corn had a lovely feathery quality to it. The overall execution of the foie gras course was flawless.

IMG_1111Oysters and cured mackerel tartar with white garlic and watercress. The oysters and mackerel tartar was delicious, but the garlic was a little overpowering.IMG_1113Canarian black potatoes with roasted octopus, curry mojo sauce, lemon brine, and acidified broth. This plate was beautiful in terms of presentation — the colors were vivid and aesthetically pleasing. I especially enjoyed the potatoes with curry sauce. The roasted octopus was a bit saltier than I would have liked, but overall I thought this dish worked well.

IMG_1114Small langoustine and young leeks with coral juice and Thai coconut. If you dine at a lot of Spanish fine dining restaurants, you’ll start to notice that langoustine is almost always on the menu. This particular variant was fresh and tender, and the Thai coconut-infused broth added an extra spicy kick to the dish.

IMG_1115Parmesan egg. The egg was one of my least favorite dishes of the night. The egg itself was boring, and the parmesan cheese flavor was too sharp when paired with the egg.

IMG_1118Squid treated like black rice with padron seeds. Normally I am a fan of squid ink-type dishes, but this gooey rendition was rather bland and lacked texture.

IMG_1119Prawn “suquet” with potato gnocchi, candied tomatoes and hazelnuts. The prawn was fine, but I really enjoyed the little bites of potato gnocchi that accompanied this dish.

IMG_1120Mediterranean red mullets. I thought they could have been more creative with their fish dish. I didn’t like the heavily fried texture of the fish, and there were no sides to enhance the plate.

IMG_1121Guinea fowl with foie gras, aubergines textures, black garlic and kumquat. I have to admit that by this point in the meal, I was really full and overwhelmed by the richness of the guinea fowl stuffed with foie gras. I was ready for the dessert courses.

IMG_1122Tonic water bubbles with mango, candied lemon and juniper. I really enjoyed this interesting palate-cleanser type dish. The tonic water bubbles popped in my mouth with a slight bitter taste but it was immediately set off by the sweetness of the mango.

IMG_1123White chocolate rocks, summer strudle and “tuber albidum pico” with yogurt and cottage cheese. This dessert plate was delightful. The white chocolate was deliciously buttery and the yogurt and cottage cheese were mild additions that really worked to enhance the dish.

IMG_1125Nectar flowers, rosemary flowers and nuts. Once again, the presentation was gorgeous. The shape of the plate reminded me of a coconut shell, and the flowers inside the shell were pretty, looking like they were in full bloom. It was fun to break the thin layer on top to reveal the rest of the gelatinous dish.

IMG_1126Petit fours. The macarons were the highlight of the petit fours.

IMG_1127ABaC “lipstick”. This final dish was a fun and creative way to end the meal. The “lipstick” is actually a frozen berry-flavored popsicle.

IMG_1128

Overall, I had a fantastic meal at ABaC. I found the tasting menu to be inventive and most of the dishes to be quite tasty. The meals that I most enjoy are the ones that keep me guessing as to what will happen next, and that certainly was the case at ABaC. The atmosphere around the time that I went was a little lacking due to how empty the restaurant was, but it is probably livelier at dinner. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend ABaC if you are looking for a fun tasting menu experience in Barcelona.

ABaC Restaurant, Avinguda del Tibidabo, 1, 08022 Barcelona, Spain

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