In the lobby of the chic Hotel Omm in Barcelona is one-star Restaurante Moo, overseen by the Roca brothers - the three chef/owners of the much celebrated three-star El Celler De Can Roca in Girona. Can Roca is one of the restaurants on the forefront of avant-garde Catalan cuisine; having read the two reviews from Chuck, it had been one of my to-visits ever since. Unfortunately, we did not have time to make it to Girona on this trip, so Moo would have to suffice as the closest thing to getting a sense, however far removed, of the Roca's creations.
It must also be noted that the Cap de Sumillers at Moo is Roger Viusà Barbara, who won Best European Sommelier WSA in 2008. The world's best sommelier, and a very gracious fellow to boot.
Foie gras mousse in cherry candy shells - quite good.
"Our appetizer" - Oyster on crostini with julienned green apple, celery, and hazelnut sauce
Our Russian salad
Fino Piedra Luenga. Bod. Robles /G/ Montilla-Moriles / Pedro Ximenes
Ensaladilla rusa, a Spanish variation of Russian salad, is pretty ubiquitous in Spain. Here, Moo replaces tuna with chunks of barely-seared toro, and puts a lighter touch on all the usual ingredients: baked red pepper crisps, potatoes, green peas, shaved pickled carrot, and a dollop of vinegary mayonnaise. High quality ingredients on their own, unified by a modern, sensible interpretation of the Spanish/Russian classic.
Scallop with chervil
Dom Mouscaillo 06 /B/ Limoux / Chardonnay
Sea bass with green beans and ginger
Pezas da Portella 06. Val de Sil /B/ Valdeorras / Godello
The bass was seared nicely and accented with some strong but delicate aromas from the accompanying ginger/haricot vert slivers and broth. Done well, but nothing too exciting here.
Lamb’s Shoulder with paprika
Roda II 98 /T/ Rioja / Tempranillo, garnacha
Cooking sous vide and/or at low temperatures is a signature style of the Rocas; the lamb here is prepared to achieve a texture similar to suckling pig, with a thin, nearly-crackling layer of skin. Well-flavored, but a tad dry.
Pigeon with stew cereals
Cims de porrera 00. Coop Agrícola de Porrera /T/ Priorat / Grenache
The medium rare pigeon slices, subtly gamey and untouched by additional seasoning, were completely overwhelmed by the side of quinoa and barley. In addition to being oversalted, the cereals were unpalatably hard and chewy. An unbalanced dish and my least favorite course of the day.
The previous course was somewhat redeemed by the cheese course; manchego comes in two styles: subtle and smooth as a gelato, and sharp and spicy in its natural form, both brought together by a tart green apple puree.
Mango, coconut and wheat
Saint Aubin 08. Dom. Delesvaux /D/ Coteaux Du Layon / Chenin blanc
Donato degli Antinori /D/ Vin Santo/ Trebbiano
The concept of Restaurante Moo works well as a trendy restaurant in a swank hotel. It serves up a solid tasting menu that is fairly well-executed and beautifully plated, and the wines are excellent. The food itself is nothing to write home about: not wildly inventive, if rather ordinary. There is no show stopping meal here, but there really could be no comparison to Can Roca, tucked away in Girona where the three brothers are actually running the restaurant. Come to the hotel in Barcelona for the bar/people watching, but take a trip to Girona for the food.
€100.00 - Joan Roca’s Tasting Menu (~$170 - September 2009)
€40.00 - "Wines that harmonize"