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Review by Johannes Christian Wedell-Bollmann2 years ago
My partner and I found Access Bcn on TripAdvisor and thought we would give it a go. The expectations were high, because the place has a very high recommendation rate. We easily booked our table online and as Scandinavians who are not used to the late south european dining hours, we chose the earliest possible time, which was 20.00. How they manage to go until 22.00 without dying from hunger is an enigma to me?
The place itself is located almost anonymously at the roadside of Career Aribau, a busy and pretty big road. 99 out of 100 would miss it in the passing. But when you enter, you are taken down a lush hallway with decadent interior, mirrors and glamour worth an high class 80'ies disco, Studio 54 feeling.
We were greeted by the owner. A polite and welcoming man. He noticed right away, that my partner was 7 months pregnant (hard to miss) and showed us to our tables, while reassuring us that they would change the menu in anyway, to accommodate my pregnant partner.
The Food and drinks:
We asked for 2 'tasting menus' priced at 55 € each - an extremely fair price.The meal consisted of 2 starters, 1 fish, 1 meat and 2 desserts. 6 courses. I asked the waiter for a glas of Rioja for the starters and my partner had to make due with sparkling water. The house' Rioja was served a bit to cold for my (scandinavian) taste, but gained in flavour and bouquet as it oxidised and warmed a bit.
Before the first starter they served us a small bite size appetiser on a porcelain spoon. The appetiser was a smoked(and marinated???) piece of sardine, with a mild curry creme and chives. The taste was very familiar for us danes, reminding us of our traditional Christmas-style marinated herring. Peculiar at first, but the taste grew better and the chives finished of the taste very nicely. I am not sure it is an appetiser, that would appeal to the broader audience. I hint of new nordic cuisine in Catalonya.
The first starter was the foie gras. Nicely served and generously carved. With bits of pistachio on top, abricot coulis and a reduced balsamic vinegar. It was served along crispy pieces of thinly sliced toast. There was almost to much foie gras - which is never bad :-) . But it gets a bit to much in the end. It would have presented itself a tint better, had it had some more salt - preferably some delicious big flakes of seasalt. The taste got a bit too dull to the end.
The second starter was the highlight of the evening. The scallops. Magnificent. There is nothing to criticise. Fried to perfection. Fresh, tender, delicious. The chef made sure that my pregnant partner had hers well done, but even so, they were tender and nice. They were served on top of the best sellery puré we have ever had. The puré in it self is worth dining here for! The waiter told us the secret behind it. We won't reveal it here. Are you having only one starter? Go for the scallops! I promise you will not regret it!
First main course was roasted shade fish with artichokes, peas of Llavaneres, green beans and ham bouillon. It is an ungrateful time to be served just after the scallops. The fish and bouillon in particular were delicious. The meat was cooked to perfection. The peas looked incredible, but unfortunately lacked in flavour and some of the artichokes however delicious in taste, had small bits of "woody" pieces that we had to spit out and leave on the plate. Again the dish lacked some salt and "freshness". The fish was topped with supposedly "crisp" bread crumbs - they were not. And that was indeed a major pitty. It is baffling to me, why the chef did not choose to removed the skin from the fish and fry it crispy separate from the fish meat and then serve the crispy skin of the fish on top in stead of the bread crumbs. Sorry to say - they did not bring anything to the dish. I asked the waiter for a second recommendation for a glas of wine and he returned with a Reserva (Rioja?? Perhaps. Did not get the grape) He poured a full glass without allowing me to taste it first - oddly enough - but the wine was truly amazing. So no harm done.
Second main course was the suckling pig with cardamom, apple purée and pearl onions. Amazing meat. Tender, juicy and so full of taste that it felt like explosions in the mouth. In style and taste it could have been served in a "new nordic restaurant". The skin had been removed and the top layer of fat grilled till perfection. Again - why not serve with the crunchy fried skin? Maybe in powdered form as a bed for the meat on the plate? The apple puree was good.
The first dessert was a Maracuya cream, iced mint and espuma of coconut. Delicious. Fresh. Almost like a pina colada dessert. Just what we needed. Normally I am not into coconut, but this was nice.
The second was the best: Warm dark chocolate foam, hazelnut cake, olive oil and salt. We did not know what they would serve us and therefore the first expectation was to get something cool in the mouth. We couldn't see that the chocolate was actually warm. Surprise. Salt and chocolate - a winner combination. Combined with the olive oil and the hazelnut cake the tasted mixed perfectly and the cava I drank with it perfected the tastes.
I want to mention three minor things, that were a shame for the allround experience:
Firstly, that they choose to serve loafs of bread from a basket instead of homebaked buns to go with each plate. The bread in itself was not very exiting, and the feeling of getting loafs of bread in stead of a whole piece made it a "cheaper" expression. We had one piece for starters, but chose not to take anymore because it took focus from the good food. Really a shame to try and save money in such an essential place as the bread. Rather skip it than eating what they served.
The second thing was that while eating, 3 different persons served for us. We missed having that nice "intimate" relationship with one waiter and it made it unclear for us, who to contact. One of the waiters spoke very mumbly and we had a hard time understanding his presentations of the food. Thirdly, when people started coming in we felt "forgotten". I ordered a glas of cava for dessert. The owner brought me a clean glas, and after the dessert was served we sat waiting for him to come with the cava - but he did not, until I asked him and he admitted he had forgotten. A fair mistake, but it takes away some of the top points for the overall experience pulling it down to 4 stars.
The best meal by far we had in Barcelona. Definitely worth visiting.
Our bill ended up at 134€ which isn't just reasonable - it almost felt like theft.
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