When the mastermind behind the Michelin 3 starred El Bulli, Ferran Adrià, came to Hong Kong for the Sotheby’s wine auction, he dropped by Catalunya’s opening and that, to me, put the “must try” stamp on the restaurant. Although the restaurant boast a solid El Bulli alumni, both the executive chef Alain Devahive Tolosa and restaurant manager Pol Perelló had more than 10 year of experience working at El Bulli, molecular wonders aren’t the focus. Instead, it is about doing authentic, traditional dishes from Catalonia which is diverse and complex, with heavy influence from Spain and France.
We started with the Pa amb tomaquet, which is an iconic Catalan dish that’s basically, “bread with tomato, olive oil and salt”. And Catalunya nailed this simple sounding dish, we gave thumbs up all around as we loved how crispy, fluffy and airy the toast were
I liked the chewy texture of the Cod Fish Esquixada, this traditional dish of shredded cod served with olive dressing, tomato, vinegar and spring onion was every bit appetizing and refreshing.
Tomato tartar came with thin crispy wafer, I liked the intense tomato flavor in this beef tartar look-alike dish.
The Bombas were our favorite; they were kinda like croquette, crispy on the outside and soft and melty in the inner layer; the center was stuffed with minced beef and pork which was slightly spicy, leaving slight tingle at the back of your tongue
The bikini, which was highly recommended, was thin crispy toast with black truffle, a slice of ham and mozzarella cheese. While we were allured by the heavy, intense black truffle aroma, the mozzarella cheese were less “gooey” than we hoped for. In fact, we agreed around the table that we prefer the grilled cheese sandwich from 001.
The lobster rice was very tasty; short grain rice was cooked al dente in lobster juice and fish stock releasing intense lobster flavor. The lobster meat on top was plump and juicy while small bits of squid and tomato puree were added the rice to give a different texture.
The melt in your mouth thinly slicked Jamon Iberico was packed with flavor
The suckling pig with lemon puree was served whole on wooden cutting board; I was feeling really bad about it as the baby pig looks soundly and peacefully asleep. To show how tender the piglet was, the waiter sliced it into pieces with a ceramic plate, when he cut off the poor piglet’s head, it felt like a “豬頭鍘侍候~~ “/guillotine moment =( at the end of the “slicing” the waiter breaks the plate as a sign a good luck. I felt less uneasy once the chunks of the piglet were served on our individual plate and it no longer resemble piggy. The piglet was indeed very tender and juicy with a strong aroma or rosemary.
Even though we were quite stuffed at this point, no proper meal can end without a few dessert courses! We ordered the cheese flan, the rice and milk pudding, the chocolate cake, and the creamy almond sponge.
For those who know me, I’m a huge chocolate fan so I was excited to try the Chocolate in different texture, which consist of dark chocolate brownie, dark chocolate ganache, passion fruit milk chocolate ice cream, white chocolate ganache, chocolate sauce and chocolate biscuit. Maybe coz I’ve had something similar at 22ships before, I wasn’t “wow”ed by Catalunya’s version.
All in all, I think their savory dishes were mostly decent, I especially liked the bombas and the Pa amb tomaquet. Hopefully on my next visit, they would have better, more memorable desserts. I typically won’t even share my dessert but we din finish any of the four desserts we ordered =( They seem to have quite a bit of work to do to live up to all that hype. We went more than two weeks ago, and I’ve heard good reviews from friends who have gone recently, so perhaps they have already improved! =)
Ambience wise, I like how spacious the restaurant is, the tables were well spaced out to give you room to breathe in this city where the rarest commodity is probably space. I would prefer it to be a bit less dim, I’ve seen pictures of their food in daylight and I’m sure that would have enhanced the experience too.
Address: G/F Guardian House,
32 Oi Kwan Road, Wan Chai
T: 2866 7900