NEXT Restaurant: A Tribute to El Bulli

It’s rare that I take an actual camera with me to a restaurant, but if there ever was a meal that deserved to be photographed from beginning to end, it was this one. NEXT Restaurant’s tribute to El Bulli — Chef Adria’s amazingly innovative restaurant in Spain’s Costa Brava.

I remember the No Reservations episode in which Anthony visits El Bulli during one of its final services. I watched in awe as Chef Adria served course after course after course of the most beautiful and amazing food I’d ever seen. Dishes like these were beyond my realm of imagination and I could hardly believe that such a place existed. Sadly, El Bulli shut its doors a few days after that episode aired.

While it’s impossible to do justice to something so ahead of its time as El Bulli, Chef Achatz and his team at NEXT faithfully recreated 29 of Chef Adria’s courses in an attempt carry on the spirit of a dining experience that was so much more. It was, without a doubt, one of the most beautiful, thought-provoking and inspiring things I’ve ever experienced. I’ll never forget it.

The numbers on the left reference the year in which the original course appeared on El Bulli’s menu. The numbers on the right indicate the order in which the dish fell into the entire El Bulli catalogue. 

2004 Nitro Caipirinha with Tarragon Concentrate 

2000 Hot/Cold Trout Roe Tempura

2005 Spherical Olives

2003 Iberico Sandwich

1991 Coca of Avocado Pear, Anchovies and Green Onion

2001 Golden Egg

2007 Black Sesame Spongecake and Miso

1998 Chicken Liquid Croquettes

1997 Smoke Foam

2003 Carrot Air with Coconut Milk

1997 Cuttlefish and Coconut Ravioli with Soy, Ginger and Mint

1992 Savory Tomato Ice with Oregano and Almond Milk Pudding

2001 Hot Crab Aspic with Mini Corn Cous-Cous

2000 Cauliflower Cous-Cous with Solid Aromatic Herb Sauce

1988 Suquet of Prawns

1998 Potato Tortilla by Marc Singla

1989 Trumpet Carpaccio

1987 Red Mullet Gaudi

2007 Nasturtium with Eel, Bone Marrow and Cucumber

2000 Civet of Rabbit with Hot Apple Jelly

2009 Gorgonzola Balloon

1999 Foie Gras Caramel Custard

1996 Spice Plate

2009 Mint Pond

1997 Chocolate in Textures

2010 Chocolate Donuts

1993 Creme Flute, 1989 Puff Pastry Web

2004 Passionfruit Marshmallow — The Farewell

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12 thoughts on “NEXT Restaurant: A Tribute to El Bulli

  1. What a wonderful thing that you got to attend this event. I watched the jaw dropping No Reservations episode and couldn’t believe my eyes at the creations. I do appreciate you taking the time to post all of the photos. I’ll live vicariously through you. 🙂 You must still be reeling.

  2. Whoa nelly! Thank you for sharing. It’s almost poetic really. I’m licking my chops at the mere thought of foie gras partnered with caramel. What was your favorite course?

    • I really loved the carrot air with coconut milk and the trumpet carpaccio. The chocolate donuts were also awesome and they were a one-bite treat that literally bursted in your mouth. So hard to choose a favorite!

    • Luckily the restaurant is relatively well lit. Plus, it didn’t hurt that my point and shoot has a pretty low f-stop. I’d never use flash in a restaurant — especially that one!

  3. A Bourdain fan myself for many years now… I wish I could have eaten at El Bulli 😦 But it’s great to see this!

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