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Restaurant Arola -- Barcelona Part I

The Keeper Team is continuing its walk down memory lane with a series of posts about some of the fabulous meals we enjoyed during a memorable trip to Barcelona over the holidays last year.

One of our first meals in Barcelona was at Restaurant Arola. Inside the luxurious Hotel Arts in Barcelona in the Olympic Village, Arola is a widely admired restaurant and bar created by Chef Sergi Arola. With two Michelin Stars, Chef Sergi Arola has quickly become a well-known name in Spain’s culinary world.

We sat down, took in the quirky pop-art décor surrounding us with bright greens and purples, and then asked our lovely server for Cava suggestions.

She recommended the Cava Kripta 2004 Cava Grande Reserve.

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Cava Kripta 2004 Cava Grande Reserve

To expand Keeper Collection’s knowledge of pairings, we wanted to taste what is indigenous to the region we were in. When the Cava arrived, we couldn’t help but notice the rounded bottom of the bottle. We had never seen a bottle like this before. Let the studies begin!

On to Amuse number one, a delicious shot of Beef Cheek Mousse with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Green Chives & Balsamic with Bread Sticks.

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Beef Cheek Mousse with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Green Chives & Balsamic with Bread Sticks

Next we fell in love with a staple in the Catalan Cuisine, the Pa amb Tomàquet, which literally translates to ‘Bread with Tomato’.

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Pa amb Tomàquet

We were instructed to take the bread, rub garlic and then olive oil on it, add a sprinkle of salt, cut open the fresh tomato, and rub it on the bread. The La Boella EVOO 100% Arbequina Premium that was included was to die for. We highly recommend giving it a try if you ever come across it. So simple and completely delicious! Next we moved on to the not-so-tiny tapas. First was the Sliced Iberian Pork with Pistachio, Apple & Idiazabal Cheese (like Parmesan).

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Sliced Iberian Pork with Pistachio, Apple & Idiazabal Cheese

Then came Aubergine with Balsamic Vinegar, Olives & Pine Nuts. The eggplant had a smoky, grilled flavor. Maybe a little bit too much smoky char for us.

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Aubergine with Balsamic Vinegar, Olives & Pine Nuts

Next came the Steak Tartare with Fried Onions, Soy Sauce Infusion & Egg Yolk. The balance of these flavors and textures was prepared perfectly.

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Tartare with Fried Onions, Soy Sauce Infusion & Egg Yolk

Our fourth tapas dish was Artichoke & Fried Lamb Cheeks with Garlic Sauce Mousse. The title only begins to do it justice.

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Artichoke & Fried Lamb Cheeks with Garlic Sauce Mousse

Then, the second-to-last of our tapas was the Ravioli/Dumpling of Oxtail with Reduction Demi-Glace. This completely wowed us and made us very thankful for the generous portion sizes. It was the Keeper Team’s favorite dish of all!

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Ravioli/Dumpling of Oxtail with Reduction Demi-Glace

The next dish would have been a perfect vegetarian option without the Baby Lamb Roll. The colorful fresh vegetables were so vibrant on our eyes and on our palates. For those meat lovers among us, the Baby Lamb Roll was a beautiful complement to these vegetables.

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Purple Potato, Zucchini, Cherry Tomato, Broccoli Floret, Asparagus, Cauliflower, Baby Corn, Snow Pea with Baby Lamb Roll

Finally, for our sweet moment, we were presented with White Chocolate Cream, Raspberry Sorbet, Iced Lychee Drink, Rose Marmalade and Coriander Pesto. Very different and interesting flavor combinations.

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White Chocolate Cream, Raspberry Sorbet, Iced Lychee Drink, Rose Marmalade and Coriander Pesto

Overall, Arola was a great start to learning about flavors and cooking techniques that we were hoping to see again as the week progressed in Barcelona.

Arola – Hotel Arts, Marina, 19-21 08005 Barcelona, Tel. 93 483 80 90

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