El Poblet – Valencia, Spain

So here we are at the 7th entry in this blog called “Let’s Eat Tokyo.”  Alas, it’s the 2nd entry featuring a restaurant located outside of Japan.  I like to travel and I’ll be damned if I’m not going to write about my delicious adventures.  Maybe I’ll rename the blog in the future. Whatever.

Anyways, the wife and I took a trip to Spain and visited Barcelona and Valencia.  While researching Valencia, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this delightful city has around 5 Michelin-starred restaurants.  After digging further into the restaurant scene, we decided to go for El Poblet.  Actually, we had booked Vertical, then they lost the star with the publication of the 2016 Michelin guide, so I cancelled the reservation there.  Sorry Vertical!

El Poblet is right in the middle of Valencia, a short 5 minute walk from the station and the major sightseeing spots.  Very convenient.  There’s 3 courses priced at around 45 euros, 77 euros, and 110 euros.  As this would probably be our only chance to eat here, we went big and were treated to 16 courses.  Drinks are very reasonable at 3 to 4 euros for a nice glass of wine, vermouth, or champagne.

It’s very obvious that the chef puts a large amount of effort into presentation.  This food is absolutely gorgeous.  Additionally, the furniture and interior decoration is very cute, as well, featuring colorful walls and pastel colored lighting fixtures.

This focus on presentation, however, sometimes comes at the expense of flavor.  This was especially apparent in the fish dish towards the end of the course.  Additionally, the chef uses A LOT of cream in his dishes.  You will leave this restaurant with a heavy stomach for sure.

El Poblet was good and reasonably priced, especially as I am used to Tokyo prices. Still, if I ever make it back to Valencia, I think I’d rather visit a restaurant like Riff instead of El Poblet again.

Finally, please forgive my vague descriptions of the food below.  The staff did not speak a lot of English.  Additionally, we were still jetlagged (damn Spanish people don’t eat dinner until 8:30pm at the earliest!) and I can’t remember all the ingredients that went into each dish.  Anyways, the pictures are pretty.

Let’s eat El Poblet!

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We were given a small bowl of rice crackers to snack on with our first drink. Not the most unique amuse bouche as I’m pretty sure these were poured out of a bag.

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The course kicked off with a big bang, both in taste and presentation. This is called “Coral” and the green chip is seaweed flavored, while the red is garlic. The colors were perfect for Christmas time. The dip was made from tofu and cream.

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Bread made with corn. Not cornbread. Very soft, hot, and delicious.

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“Petals of roses” – you eat only the petals with tweezers. They’re actually little slices of apple.

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Served with a very sweet apple “gin and tonic.” A very sweet appetizer, indeed. The small dish is a “cuba libre” consisting of cola flavored gelatin atop foie gras.

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“The living forest.” Under the “dirt” was a creamy concoction of porcini mushrooms.

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“Stones of Parmesan Cheese” – only two of these stones were actually edible. The coating was the consistency of chocolate and the inside was very creamy and cheesy.

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Detail of the “stone” after taking a bite.

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A grilled scallop in a ginger sauce. One of the meal highlights.

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“Tomato snow.” A creamy, cold tomato soup topped with shaved ice.

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“Sailor knot” – two different servings of razor clams.

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“Fried Oyster” featuring the same chip technique as “Coral.” An oyster tempura hides underneath the cream.

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The next dish was presented like this…

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Unwrapped, an entire shrimp is presented. Its only flavor is the saltwater in which it was boiled. Unfortunately, this tasted too much like seawater and was overbearingly salty.

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The shrimp was served with a side of soup made from shrimp head and swiss chard. It was served in a Japanese tea cup. Cute presentation and delicious umami flavor.

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A beautifully presented red mullet fish that is pleasing to the eye but a disappointment to the palette. Sadly under-seasoned and a big miss of a dish.

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The first of the two delicious rice dishes- a kind of green pea and squid paella. Closer to the over-seasonsed side, but I loved it.

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“Rice ashes” – this was tasty but I can’t remember what it consists of at all…sorry.

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The final savory dish was a delicious piece of iberico pork. The brown sliver is a piece of fried skin from a Spanish potato.

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“Citrus countryside” – Lots of different citrus fruits from around Spain with an orange cream in the middle.

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“Slates of chocolate” – the lighter pieces are a kind of chocolate meringue, while the darker ones are chocolate mousse coated in dark chocolate.

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Petit fours to end.

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