Gamba a mano
Jordi Vilà
Country: Spain
City: 08025 Barcelona
Address: Indústria, 79
(+34) 932076115
Closed: Saturday lunch and Sunday
Price: 50/110 €
Tasting menu:: 38, 65 y 84 €

As we said before of his dish ‘the ocean within’: “From the creative hands of Jordi Vilà we have a dish that is so colorful, so attractive, with such impact… like the ocean itself.” One year later he has progressively reformed himself, substituting the oyster, cockles, barnacles and sea snails with red mullet filets, contrasting with the blue oceanic background. This is a testimony to two things: one, that these aren’t the times to be footing the bill for sumptuous shellfish feasts and, two, that the chef has taken a reformist line in his current work. Undoubtedly Jordi practices a more tempered cuisine, losing something in artistic showmanship but gaining in solidity. The formulas are less involved than before, still in keeping with the innovative personality that distinguishes the chef, but they are easier and better developed. The guest, in general, appreciates this while the gourmets understand, among other reasons, why it produces this growing satisfaction. To convince, without seeking to astonish, is the goal that is aimed for and met here. Of course this semblance is somewhat “biased”, being that the menu still includes such mind-boggling recipes as the raw oysters with spicy coconut soup, ink sauce and lime with cauliflower couscous, which is now called ‘Barcelona’. He has also incorporated fascinating ideas like the hand-made red prawn, barely cooked and hot, served over a bed of Guérande grey salt, boldly perfumed with lime and bay leaf (see Great Artistic Dishes of the Year), among other aromas. Without inspiring quite the same strength of sensation, though not far off, the marinated oyster with spicy pig cheek, both elements being served over two separate layers, one of sautéed spinach and the other of horn of plenty mushrooms. Another climactic moment, if perhaps calmer than the others, arrived with the appetizing cintas de presa of Iberian cured ham with potato and cheese puree, breadcrumbs and truffles, an articulation that seems to have been inspired by roast beef, or at least is reminiscent of it. The Jerusalem artichoke cream with Iberian pork sweetbreads combines elegance and harmony, with a mutual goal. Amidst such novelty on the menu we mustn’t forget the classics of the house, like the rice with saffron, spicy peppers and Norway lobster, the free-range chicken cannelloni with almond béchamel and fresh salad, the soy steak tartare with potato soufflé and spiced butter or the partridge with emulsified stock from the same bird perfumed with truffles. The rating has risen for one simple reason: this is the best cuisine in Barcelona.