spain | girona | el celler de can roca

presse agent Ted Graham

After a few days in Barcelona, we were off to Girona. Prior to arrival, a bit of quick research indicated that it might be nice to book at table at El Celler De Can Roca. And since it was my travel partner’s birthday, what better way to celebrate? So when we rolled off the train and into the hotel around noon, I politely asked the concierge to make a reservation. What neither of us realized was that El Celler has three Michelin stars, and is often referred to (by the likes of Conde Nast Traveler)  as the “next El Bulli”. That is to say reservations are made months in advance. Naturally the concierge looked at me  like I was two sandwiches short of a picnic. “I could possibly try and get you in for lunch,” she said cooly. Luckily (and unknowingly) the hotel was affiliated with the restaurant so somehow it happened and, after a few split second decisions that involved changing clothes at lightening speed, we were seated at one of the best restaurants in the world. Indulging in an unforgettable 15-course lunch of mnemonic gastronomy was four hours of full-on sensory overload. Well, we think they were at the restaurant for four hours… every course came with glass of wine, so those details are a bit fuzzy.  But back to the incredible food and the inventive presentation. Imagine a tree of caramelized olives being brought to your table. Followed by plates like steak tartare with mustard ice cream. After that, charcoal-grilled king prawn with king prawn sand and ink rocks. Then somewhere near the end, a dish aptly named orange colourology (orange, tangerine, egg yolk, fruit passion and carrot). All said, it was a memorable November 18th, 2011… I am still trying to forget that bill.  If you want to know more about El Cellar and the three chefs behind this “emotional cuisine” concept, visit

Ted Graham is the owner and operator of Queenstown Ice Arena in New Zealand.

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