Despite this, it's not really that well known outside of Spain for some reason, I don't think it appears in the World's 50 either. But if anything that made it more alluring to me. Plus in the book that I was reading about El Bulli, The Sorcerers Apprentices; chef Ferran Adrià leaves the kitchen for the day to attend his friend's Carme Ruscalleda's party celebrating 10 years of Sant Pau restaurant at that time. Yes! We're going there as well! I thought.
First course proper European Lobster “leche de tigre”, perona beans was perfectly good, delicate and fresh.
King Prawn and Vegetable, sea water & fine herbs cannelloni was such a dish, very skilled, so very pretty but I'm sorry to say that for me failed to deliver in flavour. The sea water and fine herbs cannelloni just tasted of sea water! Good but not great for me so far. Mrs B felt the same.
Courgette and Aubergine, romesco dashi did nothing to persuade me otherwise either.
Everything looks wonderful, but for me failed to deliver that taste sensation.
The Manchego cheese course looked pretty again, and was tasty enough, but I've had manchego at least as good as this elsewhere.
Following this we retired to the attractive garden, there is a fantastic view out to the beach, and the open kitchen behind you.
We had the most wonderful array of chocolates I've seen in any restaurant served on a large toy train. They were: Lemon and sage marshmallow
Soft chocolate bombon
White chocolate rock
Black chocolate rock
Strawberry and Ratafía jelly
Puff pastry cake & pumpkin angel hair
Liquorice & sherbet crunchy stick
New raspberry crumble.
Plus a freebie Sant Pau tin.
In a recent Guardian review on Manchester's best restaurant The French, critic Marina O'Loughlin describes a theory of hers, that if somewhere is expensive then people almost pretend to themselves that it's better than it is; "I've dropped £300 it must be good!" For me this works in exactly the opposite way. If I'm dropping €390 for two (plus tip) as I did here, my expectations are therefore a lot higher. If the price at Sant Pau was roughly half of what I paid I'd have been happy. The very fact that I paid so much upped my expectations which sadly weren't met. It gives me no joy to say that, why would it? Don't forget I'm the one who paid £340 for lunch! I probably earn the national average wage at very best! (I just like to spend most of it on fine food, but I have more to lose in a way as I can't eat at this level that often.)
I guess all these high end restaurants have their own styles, for me this food was just too subtle and delicate for my palate.
At El Celler we were totally blown away, every single course had the X factor, Azurmendi gave us flavour intensity, meat so rich you were wondering how on earth they did it. Sant Pau just didn't deliver either of those things for us, the food was good, there was just simply no wow, yet they charged the same price. Perhaps another day another menu it would have done, but I doubt if I'll be returning to find out to be honest.
Service: 3 Star.
Atmosphere: Smart but not stuffy.
Food: Good but not worth the price. Understated with no wow factor.
Star dish: Tender Almonds Kiss.