Wednesday 21 August 2013

Tickets Barcelona, Spain

If you've read my post on The 41˚Degree Experience, you may remember the rigmarole it was to book both of these places. You have to go on-line exactly 60 days before your preferred date, then at midnight precisely Spanish time (11pm here) the bookings slots become available. The problem was that I wasn't getting a confirmation screen, so I ended up with several bookings all at different times and days! I cancelled all but one, and we went along on the last night of our Barcelona trip. Even though it's right next door and shares the same kitchen and some dishes, Tickets is totally different in feel to 41˚Degrees. Whereas 41˚Degrees is like a cool dark cocktail bar on another planet, Tickets is like a grown up version of Willy Wonka's Chocolate factory:
"Come with me
And you'll be
In a world of
Pure imagination
Take a look
And you'll see
Into your imagination
We'll begin
With a spin
Travelling in
The world of my creation
What we'll see
Will defy
Well maybe not quite, but it feels fun and informal, buzzing and exciting. Just being there, I felt like Charlie with his golden ticket.
So as you may know, Tickets is the tapas bar which Ferran and Albert Adrià opened up after the demise of ElBulli. It has many of the 'greatest hits' from there, but it's purposely rejected the serious Michelin Star formality of it, just keeping the fun playful stuff.
Without further ado, here's what we had.
Sangria infused Watermelon.
 Pa amb tomàquet (tomato bread.) Some dishes are superior versions of classics.
Jamón ibérico. Look at the lovely fat on that, it melts in your mouth.
Spherical "Olivas" (2 sorts) Gordal Adobad & Verdial. An El Bulli classic and a dish of sheer genius in its simplicity. These are not actually olives, but liquid globules that look like olives but explode with intensity in your mouth. When people ask about eating in places like this - this is what it's all about for me. The flavour 'hit', is like a drug, expensive and addicitve!
Mini 'airbags' de queso. I popped them in my mouth in one go like Augustus Gloop, the liquid cheese explodes on your tongue satisfyingly.
Quail eggs in a 'nest'.
Croquetas (some of the best I've ever had - and I always order these  in Spain.)
Tomato Salad.
Other unidentified stuff! Pretty though isn't it? Pity I cannot recall what it tasted like! I think it's Tuna Tartare.
Foie ecabeche.

Oysters escabeche.
Razor clams with a lemongrass foam. Excellent.
Bean stew. (I'd just written 'ace' in my notes - I'm afraid a few bottles of  Estrella Damm Inedit had been drunk by this point - plus some fine wine!)
Patatas Confitadas. Someone else ordered these, they were so nice though.
Surf 'n' turf. 
What was translated as 'throat' with a slashing hand movement which put the female members of our party off for some reason! I wolfed mine down. It was a bit like a Maccy D's McMuffin in bizarro world. (In that it was good.)
Chocolate bomb.
Other stuff.

Frappé and (fake) cigar.
To be honest, trying to piece the night together a month after the event with pathetic notes on my phone (like "ace!") is tricky. I do remember bundling ourselves into a taxi laughing and singing The Police's 'de do do do de da da da' on the way home. I detest that song as well. I also remember very much enjoying all of the food. The service was friendly, although I can recall trying to describe a dish on the menu (no longer on it I'm afraid) as 'pink clouds' as I didn't know the Spanish word for Candy floss. Service did get a bit slow half way through the evening though, I think they were understaffed, but it didn't hamper our enjoyment of the night.
I spotted Albert Adrià, but as I have such a low threshold for embarrassment I would not approach him for the awkward 'chef and us' picture. 
If you're going to Barcelona, you have to try and go to Tickets, (I reckon  you could try and walk in if you get there early.) It has some of the greatest dishes from the most influential restaurant of our lifetime for gods sake, and it's also bloody great fun. 
Price: £75 each, with loads of booze.
Service: Friendly, informal, Slow at times.
Atmosphere: Great fun, bright and colourful.
Food: Fabulous.
Star dish:
Score: 9/10. Just go!
Tune: ‪Pure Imagination‬: Anthony Newley.
Lyrics from Pure Imagination.
Written by: Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley.

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