To explain today's restaurant I need you, dear reader, to go to a music concert, U2 for example. At this concert, Bono is presenting the songs from their new album. The concert started an hour ago... Bono is taking a short break... and you don't know how, but you start to chant with everyone else "Sunday Bloody Sunday, Sunday Bloody Sunday..." Yes, you like Bono... but you want him to sing something you love, the thing that made you start following him, that song you've sung and danced to so many times.
As with music, so with gastronomy: the thing is that the restaurant Rice, or, to be more accurate, "Rice! By Miguel Sánchez Romera", opened up four months ago as if it were a new Bono concept album, wanting to focus on every possible way of cooking rice - past, present and future. But, today it's turned into a "Miguel's greatest hits" compilation, where diners who knew his former award-winning establishment L'Esguard, which disappeared more than 10 years ago, have now convinced him to once again deliver his classic style - that is, a subtle, colourful, complex and sophisticated exercise in high cuisine. Miguel Sánchez Romera isn't Bono, in fact he's much better (apologies if we offend any fans). Miguel is a neurologist (!) or, actually, he was one, because it's been years since he successfully made the switch to being a chef, always alongside his wife Cristina, co-author in all of his projects. After some years abroad, advising culinary projects in New York, among other places, he's returned to our shores. Good!
In the heart of Barcelona's Esquerra de l'Eixample neighbourhood, on the corner of Muntaner and París, you enter through what seems to be a long-and-narrow premises but then it opens out into a wide, very light space with a high ceiling and white walls decorated with colourful paintings on the culinary theme. Minimalist decoration, clean, cold, modern... you won't be left without an opinion. Tables with linen, good space between them and seating for 60 people without feeling like you're sardines. Service with a great captain, Jordi, elegantly dressed as a maître d' of years past, who had already worked with the family during their earlier phase and now, 10 years later, has "come back home for Christmas". Careful, this great captain's crew isn't up to the same standard.
Arròs negre amb velouté de kombu, gambetes al curri i sípia
Coquelet guisat en salsa de soja, verdures i puré de mongetes
Ostra Louis fumada amb vainilla, alfàbrega i puré de porro
Salmó fumat amb formatge fresc, crudités, fruites i verdures
Sorbet de mango, maduixa, mora i kiwi a sobre d'un mousse de xocolata blanca, aigua de roses i litxi
The photos speak for themselves... what's more, the descriptions of the dishes become very barroque in both the multitude of ingredients and the colours and textures... To translate those you can see above: arròs negre amb velouté de kombu, gambetes al curri i sípia - black rice with kombu velouté, curried prawns and cuttlefish; Coquelet guisat en salsa de soja, verdures i puré de mongetes - spring chicken stewed in soy sauce, vegetables and bean purée; ostra Louis fumada amb vainilla, alfàbrega i puré de porro - smoked "Louis" oyster with vanilla, basil and leek purée; salmó fumat amb formatge fresc, crudités, fruites i verdures - smoke salmon with "queso fresco" (cheese), fruit and vegetable crudités; sorbet de mango, maduixa, mora i kiwi a sobre d'un mousse de xocolata blanca, aigua de roses i litxi - mango, strawberry, blackberry and kiwi sorbet on a white chocolate, rose water and lichi mousse
What should be mentioned, whether or not you want to visit this gastronomic jewel, is that they only serve tasting menus, specifically, four of them, that fluctuate in price between 35 and 55 euros without drinks, and at lunchtime they have a "light" version of the same offer, which gives you a little less for a little less. The exercise of only menu generates a fast and interesting rhythm between dishes.
It isn't a cheap place, not a daily one either. A place for lovers of something different, of designer dishes and of speaking with, but also about the food. A good place for intimate celebrations or small groups in search of quality gastronomy. And especially, a place which you will always leave singing something like "it's a beautiful day, ni nu ni nu na". Welcome back, Miguel and Cristina.
4 tasting menus, from €35 to €55, or midday menu for 25€
Where is "RICE!"?
Address: C/ Muntaner, 182, 08036 Barcelona
Telephone: 931 42 67 09
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 1:15pm to 4pm and from 8pm to 11:30pm. Sundays and Mondays closed