In April 2012, the Sam and the dunes team visited Aquavit, a well-known Swedish restaurant in Manhattan. We even interviewed the Chef Marcus Jernmark and tried some of his delicious food. Marcus, a genial guy, talked about his career, the changes he was making at Aquavit after taking over as the Executive Chef. We were intrigued and promised to come back again. And what do you know? Just half a year later, Aquavit receives a Michelin star proving that Marcus has what it gets. We can definitely vouch for it – he is an absolute genius in the kitchen. Congratulations to Marcus and his team!
Moments restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Barcelona is often advertised as the best restaurant in town. According to us it is not, but it’s a exquisite place to have a very romantic dinner. Moments is the brain child of chef Carme Ruscalleda, who is no novice to the cooking business having earned several Michein stars. Her new culinary establishment is dedicated to the works of local artist Josep Riera i Aragó. As in most Michelin star restaurants (Moments recently got its first), the name of the dish doesn’t really describe what you are going to eat, but don’t be shy, go crazy (or perhaps ask the waiter) and pick something you think will be that ultimate experience you’ve been craving for. You simply can’t go wrong (well, maybe with the stuffed pigeon). Starters are excellent and the main course will not disappoint you either. The wine list is extensive and the sommelier would be delighted to pair your choices with the appropriate red or white. Now, this is one of those places where it should be borderline illegal to skip dessert, since you will reminisce about it for the next several weeks. We still can’t forget that delicate chocolate and orange truffle and the little ruby of fruit with a taste so fresh it lingers in the mouth for hours. So why isn’t this the best food experience we had in Barcelona? The answer is easy. The kitchen sometimes pays too much attention to the visual part. All courses are displayed as tributes to Josep Riera i Aragó’s paintings and they look sometimes more fascinating than they taste. We are sorry to say but more attention should simply be paid to the adequate use of spices. The overall experience at Moments is still very good and it offers you a unique opportunity to take somebody you cherish into the world of fine dining and contemporary art at the same time.
Hotel Omm in Barcelona houses restaurant Moo, awarded a Michelin Star in 2006 and considered one of the city’s best eateries. Located at the back of the hotel lobby overlooking a humongous rock (N.B. don’t come here for the view), it is a bastion of exquisite gastronomy with a Catalonian twist and top wines presented by first-class sommeliers. As is customary, you get a choice of house appetizers before you move to your selection. As starters we tried the foie gras and the crayfish and for main course we decided to go for the sole and sea bass. The menu suggested the wine that should accompany each course, so we went with that (who is brave enough to question these sommeliers?) and had a most tasteful experience. Benito Santos Viñedo de Xoan (2008) for the sea bass and Carles Andreu Parellada (also from 2008) for the sole were perfect combinations. If you order desert, the cheese selection is a delight. In the end, after spending relatively handsomely (but not as bad as in the other Michelin Star restaurants in Barcelona), we left happy, slightly intoxicated and full to the brim. We promise we didn’t gulp it all down like cows. Moooo…