Hidden discretely on Carrer d’Arribau in Barcelona is the restaurant Osmosis. A couple of blocks away from my hotel? Let’s give it a try!
Bread and olive oil. And salts (Hawaiian Black, Australian Pink, Maldonian White) like we love ’em.
First course was some amuse-bouche. A lollipop made with some sort of morcilla, rolled toast bread, and tomato jam, with crumbs of pop-corn. “We’re all in for the Catalan avant-garde menu” I thought! Nice, I could feel the nice taste of meat, but a bite and it was gone!
Lovely sicilian olives, tangy flavour, with a very light je ne sais quoi after-taste of something asian (lemongrass maybe? or my imagination?).
A tiny pot of sea urchin & mascarpone cream, very lovely with a pop of dried thyme, and a layer of yoghurt below. The acidity of the yog was excellent addition that enhanced the overall flavour.
“Foie mi cuit amb poma a la vainilla” – The first appetiser was a mi-cooked beef liver with apples & vanilla, on top of a very thin (like 1mm thin) awesome biscuit. wow! WOW! Exceptional flavour & texture, the biscuit was sweet (the most classic biscuit ever but like super compressed) and the ideal complement to hold – quite literally – the bite of liver, which was further enhanced by a drop of balsamic (or was it a Jerez reduction?).
“Carpaccio de gambes amb gingebre i citronella” – The carpaccio of shrimps with lemongrass & ginger sauce was OK. The shrimp was moist, lacking a bit in crunchy freshness and the sauce was lacking some character. The sauce contained also some pine nuts (which I love usually) but was not complimenting the raw shrimp at all. Rather, it was enhancing its fishy taste and would have been better left out.
“Arròs de botifarra i espàrrecs amb guatlles” – The rice was quite nice, some sort of risotto with cubes of botifarra and a sample-sized morsel of quail breast. Although the flavour was good, the sauce was way too salty (and god knows we love salt). The quail was perfectly cooked, moist inside and crispy skin, and the addition of fried asparagus buds was a perfect add-on to the dish. Less salt, and little more punch would have made this dish really great!
“Calamar farcit de peus de porc amb all i julivert” – A fried calamari filled with pig feet sauce. The calamari was nice, a tad overcooked for me, but the filling was boring & superheavy. Granted, it’s a nice local “pig foot”, but with only onions and garlic, it really lacked something to compensate the fact it was essentially a fat & collagen cocktail. There were traces of some parsley sauce sticking to the plate, but clearly not enough to make me forget what I was eating.
“Filet de vedella amb cansalada,anguila i foie” – After the pain endured with the feet fetish delirium, I got to the second main, which was a block of veal rolled & fried in pancetta. I would have welcomed a nice piece of veal with a simple light sauce to it, but I got even more fat instead. Although the veal was very good, it was raw (not even “bleu” – RAW!) which didn’t bother me. The sauces (there were at least 4 different) was a mumbo jumbo of flavours that were very confusing (how do I eat that dish?), and in the end all I could really taste was baconized pancetta. Veal is light and delicate, and needs to be given some love, not some slices of fat (remember: I was still high on cholesterol since the feet feast). I was struggling to finish this piece and move on, instead of really enjoying every bite, which wasn’t a good sign. What I found really REALLY cool was the tiny sprouts on the dish. Mint sprouts! That was awesome, not at all like mint, but so fresh and original! Completely stealing this idea!
“Pijama versió osmosis 2013” – flan ice cream with crunchy bits (excellent), and two spheres (here’s my molecular treat!) of fruits – peach and pineapple. The peach was amazing, super intense flavour, and the skin of the blob reminded me of the texture of peach bits in a yoghurt. Like real fruits, except it was calcium lactate… Awesome! The pineapple one was boring and really felt chemical.
“Tres xocolates” – Finally, three chocolates. A Baileys ice cream with crunchy bits (yes, I love crunchy stuff), nice! Then a café-filled frozen chocolate, nice too. And a chocolate explosion balls. Great texture, super thin skin and loads of melty frozen dark chocolate inside. Was nice, but the chocolate didn’t taste good. It reminded me like the cheap communist chocolate I could eat when I grew up in communist romania. Not my ideal of a dinner end.
The venue was nice, clean, and staff very friendly and took great care to explain me all the details and answer my questions. Overall, I really liked the platings, with subtle and delicate touches, drops, colours. The food was generally ok good, but the overall rhythm of dishes was clearly not fine tuned (fresh & delicate first, and then bang on with heavy fatty stuff). I assume it was a young chef trying to highlight the great cuisine & ingredients of catalunya, but he felt he had to throw in some “molecular” tidbits to be cool/competitive. I think he was trying too hard and should have rather thought about the menu rhythm and how customers would feel.