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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Tête à Tête #7 with BelleBarcelone: Albert Raurich, the original concept chef! Learn about his future project.

Dos Palillos was one of my first post, a unique experience where Asian cuisine meets the Spanish Tapas. You can read about it here
This is my 7th interview and coincidentally Dos Palillos is 7 years old. 
It was fun meeting up with Albert after all this time at Dos Palillos in the Raval. Jolly and talkative, filled with energy and enthusiastic about his future projects, it was a joy spending some time with him. 

BelleBarcelone (BB): Dos Palillos is still an unique concept in Barcelona. How do you still innovate and offer a special experience?
Albert Raurich(AR): We have a workshop in front of the restaurant where we try new dishes with my team and Takeshi, the co-chef. We are at the moment taking pictures of all the dishes there, as we are making a book. Actually this concept of offering asian tapas is not really a new thing; tapas have existed since centuries in Asia. What is Kaiseki in Japan and Dim Sum in China? Dim Sums in China are eaten for breakfast, lunch or tea time; never for dinner. It is an informal meal to have while talking and sharing: exactly our tapas concept. 
BB: Do you often change your menu? 
AR: Some dishes are timeless and are always present, others differ due to the season. For instance, now it is the time of all the different mushrooms and so on. In 7 years we have made over 180 different plates. 
BB: If you hadn't been in El Bullli, where would you be today?
AR: I don't really know. I would still be in something connected to gastronomy. It has always fascinated me. As a boy scout, at the age of 10; I always used to be in charge of the kitchen. I remember reaching the camp, making a kitchen corner and writing: Cuiner Albert Raurich. It was my space. I used to just serve my team boiled pasta with canned tomatoes, or boiled some sausages but still...
BB: Any plans of expansion?
AR: Yes we do. We are first looking for a new space for a tapas bar. We want to offer a choice of Mediterranean Tapas, not only Spanish. For instance we will have some Italian or Moroccan tapas, and we want to offer something different form the typical tapas such as Bravas or Tortilla; which of course would be present too. We want to offer the best tapas from each region. I will not be the head chef there, but the consultant chef and will be there to elaborate the menu and do the tasting. We should open by May 2015.
Then in August, next year Dos Palillos will go through some renovation. You can hear the noise upstairs? The Camper hotel is going under expansion and renovation. The Camper Hotel are my partners. The restaurant is situated in the hotel with an independent entrance. Now you can see we have 16 seatings around the work area. We are going to increase the size of the restaurant and decrease the bar area. The bar will be the entrance to the restaurant and will be an exclusive Sake Bar. A place you come before dinner or just to try some authentic Sake and some tapas to accompany it. The menu there won't be the same as the restaurant. Now you have the same menu at the bar or inside. Inside is a tasting menu whereas at the bar you can order what you want. 
Later on I would like to open, nearby El Bar del Dos Palillos. It will be the bar we have at the moment, in a bigger space. We will be serving Asian Tapas, made on the spot in front of the client, we will also have noodles, different types of noodles. It will be a set up with different themed bars.
BB: What type of clientele comes here?
AR: It is a mix, locals and tourists. In Summer we do get many more tourists. 
BB: What can you offer with 3 ingredients?
AR: "La simplicidad es portadora de complejidad". Simplicity carries complexity. I would take a prawn , just grill the head and serve the rest raw with tea oil. (I tried the tea oil, oh a wonder!)
BB: Where do you like eating? Where do you like travelling?
AR: I like eating in my house, I love cooking. On Mondays evening, after having a round at the market, I get some fresh fish and cook it with Tamae, my wife, along with some music and wine.  I don't like eating out. When travelling I will eat at the local  places as well at the high end gastronomic restaurants. 
I usually travel in Asia: Japan, China, Vietnam... My wife is Japanese and we go meet the family. Their cuisine attracts me and that is what I offer, so I usually travel there. I also do road trips around here to enjoy the gastronomy. 
BB: You have one michelin star. Do you aspire to more? What is happening with Barcelona in the Michelin panorama. 
AR: I got my star and was quite surprised and of course very happy. This is an informal place and the entrance is a normal local bar. Our cuisine got recompensed. Once the renovation is done, we will aspire to more. 
BB: So what do you think of the chefs going on TV. 
AR: I was offered few years back a program by Minoria Absoluta. I din't like the concept and after consulting with Ferran Adria, I decided not to do it. I offered them another idea: getting some known chefs together to talk and teach about the innovative concepts in the nouvelle cuisine. 
I didn't hear from them and now I see Ferran doing the "World's Best Chef" with Minoria Absoluta. 
It was originally my idea. I am upset about it but not bugged at all at Ferran, he is a friend. 

And here is the end of our long conversation.
Dos Palillos:  Carrer d'Elisabets, 9
The great tea menu, after the tasting menu:)

Thr chef's drawing: The Japo Burger!


Chatting with Albert!


A day with BelleBarcelone

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