Lasarte: gastronomy and nostalgia in Barcelona
We travel to Barcelona to visit Lasarte, Martín Berasategui's restaurant at the Hotel Condes de Barcelona. Here, we remember Santi Santamaría with Joan Carles Ibáñez, a sommelier who makes the difficult easy.
I met Joan Carles Ibáñez On a rainy Saturday ("It was raining, but nothing can heaven where there is a heart") from a distant November 2007. I met him in the Rincon de Can Fabes, on the side of Santi Santamaría. That restaurant (that way of seeing life and gastronomy) that marked us so few. There he learned to love the kitchen, the ritual of service, to touch with his fingers every detail of a perfect cutlery. I learned to praise the product and also to know how to distinguish a lover from a snob.
I also learned that each wine hides a story inside a stage (which is the glass) with a thousand hidden stories after every nuance, after every smell and every note: "a riddle wrapped in a mystery within an enigma" (it's from Churchill, this wonder). Joan Carles, one of the best sommeliers I've ever met - and I've known a few - has that rare quality of making the difficult easy.
Temperate red prawn on a seabed, fennel and mayonnaise of its coral © Hotel Condes
I meet him in his new stage in Lasarte, Martín Berasategui's restaurant at the Hotel Condes de Barcelona, in the most beautiful street in the world: Paseo de Gracia, next to the building of La Pedrera and a few meters from Casa Batlló. Cloth. We talk (talk) about my strange relationship with Barcelona: like that girlfriend you don't understand, that takes you out of your boxes, that after every night you say “this will be the last one” and yet… however one cannot be far away her. He tells me about “his” Barcelona: Barcelona is beautiful and beautiful, but it could be much more. Barcelona is a quality brand but we must not lower our guard, we must improve it. The key: let's serve those who come well, who come here, to have a good time.
We talk about Welcome, Mr. Marshall Luis García Berlanga while the service starts the fantastic snacks: Crayfish tarama with rhubarb and arugula vinaigrettesauteed from mini pulpitos with Maresme peas and lobster juice, coffee, pepper and curry. There is no doubt, this is Martin's kitchen. The kitchen (which is a bet) of one of the truly great: a kitchen where the taste is not afraid of the stage, kitchen without complexes (there are so many in this today of stars and sets) and a meticulous -mark of the house- obsession with technique and method. Kitchen eat me faut.
Trout and orange tartare with cucumber curd © Hotel Condes de Barcelona
We return to the wines, I go to the neck:
- "Sometimes I get the feeling that we are not very clear - the public - what is a sommelier beyond the character that serves the wine," I say.
- "Somme, meant" burden "in medieval French and controlled the unloading and transfer of the barrels that were transported by car. The service corresponded to the chambelain who took care of the cava and the cupbearer or maestresala who served the wine. The sommelier, apart from his specialty, has to know very well everything related to the restaurant and its service, languages and above all great skills of client psychology. He's a good DJ, he knows how to play the best music at the best moment, "he replies.
After the mushroom risotto thistle, espardeñas and burrata with sea urchins we go with a plate of the greats. One of the Everest in Martin's career, a jewel with that (so difficult) balance between power, presence, elegance and memory: Royal hare and mushroom toast with Comté cheese. We talk (of course) about wines,of three of his “pretty girls”: there are more than three, the great wines of Medoc and southern Bordeaux, some champagnes, the red plots of the garden of Burgundy and Vega Sicilia. How not to agree with you, Joan Carles?
And the kitchen? What cuisine excites you?
"The good one. The one you remember. I don't care if the cat is white or black, what matters to me is that it hunts mice."
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Joan Carles Ibáñez, the sommelier © Hotel Condes de Barcelona