Around the World in 41 Courses – The 41º Experience

BU4A9621The full elBulli experience will never be replicated. While the food was of paramount importance, the magical setting of Cala Montjoi, the paradoxically traditional decor of the restaurant space and the creative ferment of the kitchen all combined as major contributors to the full experience. Of all those factors the easiest to take away and replicate to varying degrees are the quality of the food and the creative aspects of the endeavor. Given the importance of his position as part of the creative team of elBulli, it should be no surprise that Albert Adriá has succeeded in doing just that. He has taken the creative magic of elBulli and transplanted it to Barcelona. While each of his four current restaurants (as well as the likelihood of those still on the way) carries the spirit of elBulli, none project more of that than at the 41º Experience. This small restaurant, which serves only 16 guests per evening a total of 41 courses each and is attached to the larger Tickets, originally opened as a cocktail bar and after 11:30PM reverts back to that format. Its cocktail bar origins carry over as a number of the courses come paired with specific cocktails. 41º Experience channels its progenitor (elBulli), while also being something new and fresh. It is indeed its own experience and it is worthy of the Adriá name associated with it.

BU4A9640The main concepts that 41º Experience borrows from elBulli are the creative aspects of the food, an international scope and a multi-sensory aesthetic. The room itself is compact and dark with focused lighting. Seats are comfortable and the service enthusiastic, professional and some of the best that I have experienced anywhere. An unusual, but extremely effective element of the service style is the way they kneel or get down to eye level to explain their dishes. This is a warm way of interacting and increases the intimacy and connection of the moment, while removing any sense of intimidation. It is a perfect style for what is to come.

BU4A9626Since the restaurant includes the word “Experience” in its name, it would be reasonable to expect something beyond the norm. Of course, as an Adriá restaurant, one might rightly expect that anyway. The reality at 41º is that the experience is a multi-sensory one, with the environment designed to augment and embellish the raison d’etre of dining. This is done through a series of video projections and aural accents, which include music and other sounds. The net effect is soothing, sexy and a bit surreal. Combined with 41 courses of outstanding food and accompanying drink, it is indeed an experience and a remarkable one at that. It is not elBulli, but it is wonderful and special in its own right. This particular 41º Experience will not be available as it is for too much longer, though, as plans are progressing to move it to a slightly larger nearby space, that will undoubtedly provide its own, unique experience.

BU4A9624An important part of the experience is surprise. In deference to that for anyone who might yet be going, I will limit the description of specific dishes and present them as photos with their given descriptive names, while omitting further elaboration. The overall theme is that of a culinary journey around the world. The production of this journey utilizes all of the techniques, concepts and creative touches that have come to be the signature of the Adriá brothers. There were plenty of culinary puns, fanciful creations, unusual combinations and a broad spectrum of ingredients. The bottom line, though, is that this was a truly marvelous and magical evening with pure deliciousness throughout the savory courses and the beverages. Ironically, the least satisfying part of the meal for me was the desserts, which, though well conceived and crafted, were weighted a bit too heavily on the sweet side for my personal preference. Here then, are the dishes;

Pomegranate Cocktail

Pomegranate Cocktail

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Pumpkin Leaf

Pumpkin Leaf

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Raspberry with Wasabi & Pistachio with Honey

Raspberry with Wasabi & Pistachio with Honey

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Sherry Infused Grapes

Sherry Infused Grapes

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Shell

Sesame Pearl

Sesame Pearl

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Infused Pear

Infused Pear

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41º Negroni

41º Negroni

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Olives

Olives

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Potatoes with "Espinaler" Sauce Powder and Mussels in Escabeche

Potatoes with “Espinaler” Sauce Powder and Mussels in Escabeche

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Pizzicato Five

Pizzicato Five

Pizzicato Five

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Crispy Seaweed with Quinoa

Crispy Seaweed with Quinoa

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"Paella"

“Paella”

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Spicy Corn Tentacles

Spicy Corn Tentacles

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Ribera de Pelazas "Abadengo" 2009, D.O. Arribes

Ribera de Pelazas “Abadengo” 2009, D.O. Arribes

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41º Pizza

41º Pizza

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Burrata Straciatella

Burrata Straciatella

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Truffle Causita

Truffle Causita

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Truffle Surprise

Truffle Surprise

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Bodegas Tradición "Fino Viejo 10 Años" D.O. Jerez

Bodegas Tradición "Fino Viejo 10 Años" D.O. Jerez

Bodegas Tradición “Fino Viejo 10 Años” D.O. Jerez

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Parmesan and Porcini Forest Floor

Parmesan and Porcini Forest Floor

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Iberian Airbaguette "Joselito"

Iberian Airbaguette “Joselito”

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Artichoke with caviar

Artichoke with caviar

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Asahi Shuzo "Dassai 50" Junmai Daiginjo 50% Tochigi

Asahi Shuzo “Dassai 50” Junmai Daiginjo 50% Tochigi

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Ikura Raviolis

Ikura Raviolis

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Uni Temaki

Uni Temaki

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Moet and Chandone "Grand Vintage 2004" A.O.C. Champagne

Moet and Chandone “Grand Vintage 2004” A.O.C. Champagne

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Nordic Toast

Nordic Toast

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Chicken and Shrimp

Chicken and Shrimp

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Nitro Bloody Nitro Bloody

Nitro Bloody

Nitro Bloody

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Agave Amber

Agave Amber

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Jessenhofke "TRPL" Triple Abadía Belgica

Jessenhofke "TRPL" Triple Abadía Belgica

Jessenhofke “TRPL” Triple Abadía Belgica

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Prawns "Aguachile"

Prawns “Aguachile”

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Banh Mi Sandwich

Banh Mi Sandwich

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A taste of Peru

A taste of Peru

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Atahualpa 2.0

Atahualpa 2.0

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Ceviche Nortenno

Ceviche Nortenno

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Pisco Sour

Pisco Sour

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A. Christmann "Konigsbach SC 2207" Pfalz

A. Christmann “Konigsbach SC 2207” Pfalz

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Squid and Mango Salad

Squid and Mango Salad

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Lamb Delights

Lamb Delights

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Moli dels Capellans "Trepat 2012" D.O. Conca de Barberá

Moli dels Capellans “Trepat 2012” D.O. Conca de Barberá

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Mountain "Fideua"

Mountain “Fideua”

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Waffle of Truffle

Waffle of Truffle

Waffle of Truffle

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Finca Parera "Sol i Serena" Penedés

Finca Parera "Sol i Serena" Penedés

Finca Parera “Sol i Serena” Penedés

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Foie "Tapa"

Foie “Tapa”

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Velours Brun

Velours Brun

Velours Brun

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Snowman

Snowman

Snowman

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Mango Dried Peach

Mango Dried Peach

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Chai Lassi

Chai Lassi

Chai Lassi

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Banana Musubi

Banana Musubi

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La Vinyeta "És Poma" D.O. Empordea

La Vinyeta "És Poma" D.O. Empordá

La Vinyeta “És Poma” D.O. Empordá

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Passion Nest

Passion Nest

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Classic Lemon Pie Cup Cake

Classic Lemon Pie Cup Cake

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Petits Fours

Petits Fours

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Tea

Tea

Tea

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41º Experience is a knockout that hits all of the senses. It is creative, fun and above all else, delicious! The service, under Donatello Romanazzi, is exceptional. An older couple from Belgium was on one side of us and a Spanish family with two young, teenage kids was on the other side. The family appeared to be enjoying themselves, while the couple definitely did. The tables were far apart enough to maintain some privacy, but we spoke with the couple as they were leaving. This type of dining is not something they frequent, but when they saw a television program that highlighted the restaurant, they felt that they needed to try it for themselves. They were thrilled. So were we.


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One Response to Around the World in 41 Courses – The 41º Experience

  1. Eddie Gootjes says:

    i have eaten there at FEB 2014
    It realy was an exprience witch i was glad to have been part of
    The food unbelievble , and the service explicet.
    A day later we went next door to Tickets and Ferran was there for a vissit at his brother,s restaurant.Witch was nice to see him in the flesh
    Eddie

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