Saturday, 3 March 2012


I have been a fan of Anthony Bourdain's show "No Reservations" for a while now; despite not having access to the Food Channel, I've been keeping up to date with episodes through uploads via Youtube.  Of course, most people who are interested in food will know that Ferran Adrià announced that he would be closing El Bulli at the end of the season in 2011 and to coincide with this, "No Reservations" aired a special episode on El Bulli towards the end of last year. It also showed Bourdain going to eat at a new resto in Barcelona called Tickets opened by Ferran's brother, Albert which would focus on tapas. The resto looked amazing and for me, much more appealing than a visit to El Bulli so I began doing a bit of research into it. After browsing through some more Chowhound boards (US foodies love sharing their experiences!), I found out that Tickets does not have a phone number or email address. The only way to make a reservation would be through their own website ( where their reservation system is ran by an external company. At the time of research, seats could be booked up to 3 months in advance and the best way of doing this was to log onto the site, around midnight Barcelona time which is when they would release the next batch of seats for 3 months later. Sounds like a lot of work, huh? JD and I had a chat about when he might be free in 2012 so we plumped for a Saturday and worked our way back to the day we would have to log on. Come 3rd December 2011, there were seats available for Saturday 3rd March 2012 (it sort of felt like winning the lottery!) and hence, the REAL reason why we came to Barcelona!! :)

I have since heard that Tickets have changed their reservation policy and you can now only book 2 months in advance. The resto have shortened the time due to a proliferation of no-shows, which they were having problems dealing with at the last minute due to their own intentional lack of phone and email. I'm not quite sure how this will be resolved fully but shame in people not honouring their reservations!!

Our dinner at Tickets was really great and a real bonus was seeing Albert Adrià himself at the passe overseeing service!! (Ba Chan asked me why I didn't ask to have a picture taken with him?? It would've been a tad embarassing so I refrained. I didn't notice anyone else going up and bothering him either, which I thought was a little strange?) We were seated at the bar area in front of the kitchen which was perfect, getting to see all the chefs in action! Our waitress struggled to explain a few of the things on the menu but overall, her English was very good. This trip has made it very apparent how rusty my Spanish is, must try harder next time!! 

The food, needless to say, was of an excellent quality and the atmosphere was so relaxed making the whole experience very enjoyable (they were even showing Barca vs. Sporting Gijon on 3 TV screens with Albert heading over to check on the score from time to time. I was a bit gutted that the game was on the same day as our reservation for Tickets but luckily for us, Messi was suspended and not playing tonight). We had a lovely evening - I was already grinning like a Cheshire cat by the time we left so you can imagine how I felt when we bumped into Albert by chance on the way out and he said goodbye (or something along those lines) to us.......soooo cool! :)

Tickets Menu - Ferran on the far left with the chef's toque, Albert underneath him with the zester. Not sure who the other 2 blokes are! :)

The tweezers are a nice touch but really, they are for peeps who can't hold chopsticks properly, no?! :)

Legendary olives as per El Bulli - nice and really full of flavour. Obviously, a lot of work went into them but I would've been just as happy with the real thing?!

Jamón Gran reserva - sounds weird but the fatty parts of the ham were the tastiest!

Anchovies with pan amb tomaquet

Albert at the passe!!

Thin slices of tuna served with pine nuts and brushed with iberico ham fat - sounded decadent but the fat didn't bring much to the dish. Tuna was great quality though.

Sashimi of hamachi served with ginger, garlic and soy marinade with camagrocs mushrooms. Very tasty dish, fish not overpowered by marinade but this combo of flavours is something which I use all the time!! 

Anyone who has ever worked in a professional kitchen will know that salamanders are hot as hell, never mind having to hold plates right up to the heat!! I really pity the poor chef here :(

Razor clams with ginger oil, cayenne pepper and lemon air - very good but one of them had some grit (tut! tut!). The lemon air made the clams taste extra sweet, yum!

Roast quail with mojo verde - sooooo good!!! Mojo verde was especially tasty and reminded me of a tangy green Indian chutney :)

Pork ribs with BBQ sauce - tender and juicy but I think Americans do make a better BBQ sauce, methinks!

Loving the "caganer" character doing a poo :)

Anyone remember Cobi from 1992?

Catalan cream roll - pastry was light as a feather and cream was piped throughout, perfect!

Chocolate rock - posh Aero bar topped with hazelnuts and passion fruit cream, yum!

One of the highlights of our meal - cotton candy tree!

The final piece of theatre - mango ice cream served in a cone made of dry mango. The ice cream trolley had to be rolled over from the other side of the dining room with the chef ringing the bell to alert everyone!

After serving me my ice cream cone, he then had to scuttle off, brilliant!! :)

One final pic of Tickets - you can just about see Albert chatting to his mates in the window!

As mentioned before, I was too embarrassed to approach Albert but if I did have the opportunity (and guts), this is what I would've said to him (with the help of Google Translate!)

Xef Albertmoltes gràcies per un dinar fantàstica i l'experiència de tota una vida en Tickets. Com un xef de rebosteria companysadmiro el teu treball molt. Espero que un diapot mostrar una petita part de la creativitat que tenen en el meu propi treball.  Moltes gràcies de nou :)

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