Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM
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The exuberant and impeccably audacious Travelling Gourmet TM has moments of sheer culinary Ecstacy in…
MOMENTS…this superb fine dining 2 Michelin Star restaurant in Barcelona is a place where you can try incredibly unique and delicious dishes, created by ueber-creative Head Chef Raül Balam. My good friend Raül is the son of celebrated Chef Carme Ruscadela. When I first met bright and charming Raül he had one Michelin Star…now he has TWO!
The Travelling Gourmet TM and mi amigo Head Chef Raül Balam!
Dining in style and elegance…
Precious gold and soothing amber hues of the spacious and elegant dining room create a magical and mystical ambience to further enhance your dining pleasure. At the end of the room there is a large clear glass window which allows you to watch the Chef Raül & his team whipping up a tornado! When I was there, Raül kindly brought me on a tour of his kitchen, and told me exuberantly, “You must try ‘The Trip’!” IT was an offer I could not refuse…
Truth be told, I was absolutely delighted to taste his special Menu…El Viaje means “The Trip” in Spanish…and I am El Gastronomo Viaghero (The Travelling Gourmet TM) n’est pas… This avant-garde “think out of the box” Menu reflects the cuisines of different cities all over the world. In each city of the special menu there is a Mandarin Oriental hotel, and Chef Raul creates the dishes of that region…while simultaneously highlighting amazing Spanish & local Catalan products used, in each irresistible dish. Despite having dined in many top Michelin Starred restaurants from Rome to Berlin, many of the dishes surprised and impressed me no end!
The culinary TRIP began with…
A delectable dish from…BARCELONA! “Pa amb tomaquet” which translates as Bread with Strawberries, appetising Anchovies and White Wine Jelly…plus DO Alella wine. Traditionally served with tomatoes but as Chef Raül explained to me, “In my village we use strawberries instead of tomato.”
The next destination was HONG KONG with Duroc Pork Dim Sum and Spicy Sauce. A lovely Dim Sum dumpling expertly made in the shape of your typical Kuo Tieh from Shanghai was delightfully delicious! The Duroc pork is from Spain and is very flavorsome. Duroc aka the “Red Pig” is bright reddish pink in color when raw. The meat is rich in marbling and gives a juicy, tender & flavorful dining experience. Durocs are red pigs with droopy ears.
Only one of the many amazing wines matched with the food that I relished…
I “flew” next to “la ville lumiere” or PARIS…where a captivating Macaron appeared before me. It looked like a sweet Parisienne Macaron but SUPRISE! It was actually savoury, filled with luscious Foie Gras plus Apple, Green Celery and Armagnac. It tasted absolutely divine! Oh! la! la! Positively orgasmic!
My Passport with the Macaron!
Heavenly Foie Gras Macaron!
To jolly Japan and TOKYO…Sea-Fresh Sea Bream spiked with Dashi, Karashi and Grapefruit Vinaigrette! Oishi neh! Karashi (辛子, からし) is a palate tingling Japanese mustard made from ground mustard seeds mixed with Wasabi (horseradish). It gives your palate that intriguing spicy aftertaste.
Well and truly bitten by the travel bug, I travelled back to Europe…to MADRID…to relish marvellous Stir-Fried Chorizo Sausage & Cod Fish “Callos”. I love flavoursome Chorizo sausage for its full bodied spicy flavour! “Callos” is actually a traditional Spanish stew made with slow cooked Tripe. Here Chef Raül cleverly replaced the traditional beef tripe with Cod Fish.
The next destination was MILANO in one of my most favourite countries, sunny Italy!
SAS = Scallops and Saffron and Pesto was most appetizing. J’adore Coquilles Saint Jacques! The sexy Saffron Sauce was amazing and so was the “al dente” home made Pasta. Paired with a lovely Falanghina wine from Campania in Italy.
It is not far from Milano to BODRUM for exotique Roasted lamb and Pita Bread and Hummus! It was like a mini flying saucer 6cm in diameter. Oh Yummie! Bodrum is a port city in the southwestern part of Turkey…
From Turkey all the way to the BIG Apple that is NEW YORK! What dish could be more American than…NO it is not Apple Pie a la mode but Beef Burger and French Fry with a Twist! Oh Madonna! The most unique burger I have ever savoured! The cute little cuddly Quail’s egg sunny side up made my day! The yolk exploded on my palate releasing all its lovely flavours…My taste buds were becoming more and more delighted by the captivating culinary cabaret of myriad and sublime flavours, textures and aromas!
Across the Atlantic Ocean to the exotic East and BANGKOK…for some Thai influenced cuisine! Clitoria Thai Sauce, Monkfish and Coconut!
Next stop on my incredible gastronomic safari…JAKARTA in INDONESIA! Indonesian cuisine is renowned for its clever use of exotic Asian spices for which in the past…wars were fought between the Dutch, the Portuguese and the British! Bittersweet Duroc Pork and Apple enticed and excited my palate…ironically apart from Bali, most Indonesians do not eat pork as they are Muslim…Never mind! I love pork and as the Germans say when they are in luck, “Ich habe Schwein!” which translates as ‘I have a pig”!
To merrie olde England and LONDON for…superbe Stilton Blue Cheese, Poached Pear & healthful Almonds. See the ravishing presentation! It tasted as good as it looked.
Viva Las Vegas!
I ‘landed’ in LAS VEGAS to savour Elderflower, Vodka, Vanilla and Cherry. An attractive cocktail with Vodka Espuma, a Potato Cracker and Cherry Balls plus fragrant Elderflower pleasured my palate no end. I was delighted to see it made “a la table” by the bartender! Interactive dining at its finest!
Onward, ever onward…Next Stop MIAMI for a dish with Cuban nuances. Coconut with Coconut Flakes, Tamarind and zesty Passion Fruit which made my mouth water!
The last city was MARRAKECH in Morrocco for Pistachios, Chocolate and Almonds.
Ooh, La! La! Last but by no means least, three huge hand made Cookies arrived. These were no run of the mill cookies but superb examples of the Patisseur’s art… A Chocolate Cookie with Cocoa Nibs in the shape of the Eiffel Tower, a Turkish Eye Talisman with Coconut flakes and Gingerbread in the form of a Cheshire Cat! Yummie! By now I was full but by no means overly full. The portions had been so well arranged and the lovely gourmet extravaganza spaced out over 3 hours and fifteen minutes, gave my tummie tum tum enough respite between courses.
My Passport was stamped…
At the end of my most amazing, mesmerising and memorable meal…I had taken a delectable journey deep into the heart of gastronomic excellence and creativity. As Chef Raül puts it, “Our cooking has to be a fiesta in the mouth!” Ay Yai! Yai! Yai!Caramba! Si, mi amigos, I had gone around the world in 15 delicious plates!!! It was Awesome! If there is but one restaurant you have time for when you are in Barcelona, it is MOMENTS! BRAVO! BRAVO Chef Raül!
- Moments Restaurant
- 2 Michelin Stars
- Mandarin Oriental Barcelona
- Passeig de Gràcia, 38-40, 08007 Barcelona, Spain
- Tel: +34 93 151 88 88
MOMENTS Restaurant in Barcelona is AWARDED The Travelling Gourmet TM’s BEST FINE DINING Restaurant in Barcelona for 2017!!!
Granada sung beautifully by Placido Domingo expresses in a small way how wonderful “Moments” restaurant is!