History through will

The restaurant of the week

2007 El Mundo

To say that the Roig Robí is in one of its best gastronomical moments may seem stupid if we look at its long and remarkable history (one of the most glaring oversights of Michelin, by the way). But it is. With the consolidation of Joan Crosas at the front of the operation, and still following Mercè Navarro, his mother, who adjusts each recipe to the extreme, with a kitchen team that functions like a stopwatch, this delicious restaurant and garden is more reminiscent of the brilliance of Dorian Gray than of the boring serenity of the classics.

And, careful, classic, in the strictest sense, it is, because its kitchen is based on traditional Catalan recipes. 
But, apart from these compositions that “everybody always likes”, in Roig Robí tension has been maintained, a condition sine qua non to create emotion, on two obsessive fronts: in the raw material of overwhelming quality; and in the refinement of radical dishes. Thus, we must not be surprised, although we still are, by the wonder that is achieved with only a few cod fritters. Supreme lightness, spectacular subtlety, true taste. Surely, one of the most important of the country. That is the determination of the family. Nothing left to chance. Everything tested and tested. Clean in style, delicacy in the finished product, all around certainty. For these reasons the authenticity of the cream of garlic with PX gelatin and grapes is of exceptional nature. The elegance and the certain opulence of the noble ingredients finish rounding up towards fantasy. As it is with the marinated tuna with sesame oil and green beans. Or with the sea bass tartar with trout roe that offers us all the glory of the fish that is only happy with river explosions.

From this moment, we come across the most emblematic part. It is the mushroom, in this case a clean sauté of ceps, amanita caesarea and milk caps. That which prepares us for the scorpion fish, a multiplication of firmnesses, textures and marine subtleties that are accompanied by a crawfish. We have now reached near perfection. This is when we abandon ourselves to the wisdom of Mercè, we are not made of stone and we throw ourselves toward pleasure just as the sea bass is thrown into the oven with its most delicate potatoes, or toward the spectacle of the meatballs with mushrooms, o towards the deboned Iberian suckling pig…. And we certify, while we refresh the spirit with a cream of yogurt with mandarin sorbet, that history does not flow on its own, but it must be forged suddenly by will. And we understand that only very hard work, relentless search for palatal balance, coquinary clairvoyance and stubbornness with providers makes a great restaurant.



Mycological Fixation

Although surely the most celebrated dish is the famous rice of “espardenyes”, it is in the  mushrooms where we found most fixation. They arrive every day from the Alt Empordà, freshly picked. They are prepared following the unwritten rule that advises “the less you touch, the better.” Thus, the amanita is cut into carpaccio, and the chanterelles are sautéed with drops of oil, salt and pepper. Or they are passed through the oven. Also they are prepared with shavings foie gras in coca or with mashed potatoes and fried egg(pictured) or stewed (chanterelles and slugs).

2007 El Mundo

El Mundo. Metropoli

Text: Xavier Agulló