Delicious Drives Spain
A road trip to remember for life, check it out here.

Taller de Cuina Carmen Guillemot

Taller de Cuina Carmen Guillemot Alcanar Exterior of RestaurantTasting Menu That We Chose:

Tapas Starters – You Get All 5
Pumpkin mousse & goat’s cheese
Our foie gras with toasted brioche
Coca flaked cod with paprika Alcanar
Tartar of smoked tuna carpaccio
Our version of Galician octopus

Main courses – Choose 1
Monkfish with crawfish with its essence on coca potatoes
Black Angus Sirloin
Kid confit at low temperature.
Lamb confit style “Michui”

Dessert:
Macedonia sorbets (see photo)

It’s taken me almost a week to write something about this restaurant. Why – you may ask yourself, was it so terrible that I was stuck for something not too unkind to say about it – no, it was quite the opposite actually. When we arrived at the front door of the restaurant, we were greeted by Philippe, who was a perfect host throughout the evening. The restaurant is in their home, however when I say home – the building is more like an art gallery which has a beautiful dining room. It was even exciting to go to the toilet. I’m going to tease you with this one, you just need to go to this restaurant to find out for yourself…..but lucky you, this article has been updated since our second visit!

Update May 2014 – Of course we had to go back to this exceptional restaurant. So you can see a variety of new photos now. This time we went for Sunday lunch with one of my step daughters and her boyfriend. They’re the good looking couple just above! I felt exactly the same as the first time, and the younger couple were obviously in heaven. Once again, I wondered, as did my companions – could this be the best restaurant in the world?

Savouring The Memory Of Sensual Tastes For A Week

I have spent the last week savouring the memory of the amazing tastes of the food in Taller de Cuina Carmen Guillemot. The experience was pure and utter bliss. Sensuality on a plate and permeating the entire environment. Our second visit had exactly the same effect on me, and our party…the only difference was the comfort of knowing that this couple can also deliver consistently.

We chose a menu degustación (tasting menu) which costs €38 for 5 tapa style starters, that the chefs choose for you, followed by a main course of your own choice and a dessert of your own choice.

In May I had the same menu for the second time, and it was flawless. Naturally I was more aware of the dishes and was on the lookout for faults – there were none to be found! Also the main courses that were on offer included two dishes which have been slow cooked for around 36 hours. These melt in your mouth.

Just like our first visit, the visual culinary styling is perfect. The dishes are in essence, pieces of art, in the form of fine dining dishes, and the setting is classic yet creative, in this unique establishment.


Starters That Make Your Taste Buds Sing And Ask For More
The 5 tapas starters that were chosen for us were imaginative and used the most local ingredients possible. After we had the first one, we all fell into a kind of contemplative silence, filled with respect and a growing expectation of how the next courses would be. We all felt the same – it had been so wonderful, was it wrong to expect at least an equal standard from the other starters, the main course and the dessert? We’ve all been there, to restaurants that come up trumps with a great starter and then let it slide when it comes to the main course.

Our first starter had sounded a little odd to us when Philippe described it, as a kind of mousse/soup of carrots, calçots and nuts. The presentation was precise and perfect, the taste was a sensual explosion of tastes that make your taste buds sing.

The other starters continued in the same vein. They are described as tapas starters, but the portions are similar to anywhere else I have had a menu degustación and by the time it came to my main course, I really couldn’t do it justice. (On the second visit I didn’t eat anything all in the morning, as I wasn’t going to have that happen twice!) The four remaining starters were an amazing foie gras, which Philippe told us was made from ingredients from the Delta de l’Ebre, a salmon and prawn dish, a tuna and algae starter, and their own take on pulpo a la gallega, which was wonderful, and in our opinion better than the original version.

Main Courses Made With Love

Everything we had tasted up that point was pure and utter heaven. The main courses were exactly the same, made with love and skill, and out of the best ingredients that they could source. Myself and our friend had the lamb, which was delicious and so very, very tender, having been cooked slowly for 36 hours.

My other half had the steak, and he is a true steak fiend, so the perfect judge of a good steak. The steak deviates slightly from all of the other food we had, in so far as it is not sourced locally. Philippe explained to us, that having tasted steak from all imaginable places, himself and Mamen decided that it was the steak from Nebraska that they would offer on their menu. Once you taste it you’ll know why.

When The Energy Of Fine Dining And Art Intertwine

The longer I spent in Taller de Cuina Carmen Guillemot, the more embraced in a purity of energy I felt. Words like unique and special don’t do enough to describe how this place can affect you, if you are sensitive to energy. I hadn’t read anything about the restaurant before going, preferring to judge the experience without the noise of other people’s opinions, so I wasn’t aware that Mamen is a painter and Philippe is a sculptor. However let me comment that this combination could also go horribly wrong, if they let their egos take over. But they don’t. The result is this wonderful situation where the energy of fine dining and art intertwine. 

Every course and every interaction was like this. To the left you can see the triumphant, delicious dessert – another explosion of superb tastes. Philippe then kindly offered us an after dinner drink of orange liqueur. Now there are quite a few restaurants here that do this, but often the after dinner drink is hierbas, which can be a bit of a surprise to foreigners on holiday. The orange liqueur was particularly good, very more-ish.

Taller de Cuina Carmen Guillemot is considered by some to be the best restaurant they have been to in the world. Philippe told us about one reviewer who had made this comment as part of his review on TripAdvisor. When he told us this, we all fell back into that contemplative, respectful silence again …I think we were all thinking the same...it could indeed be the best restaurant in the world. This will of course depend on where you’ve been, what your tastes are and if you are the type of person who can absorb beauty in this way. If you are, then make sure you find a way to incorporate Taller de Cuina Carmen Guillemot into your travel itinerary.

For the more financially minded of you out there, let me not forget to let you know about the grand total. 3 of these tasting menus, 1 bottle of a very good house wine, 1 coke, 1 organic beer, 1 coffee – €150.

 

If you like what you’ve read and seen here why not become a friend of the restaurant’s on Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/tallerdecuina.carmenguillemot

By Jackie De Burca

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12 Responses to Taller de Cuina Carmen Guillemot

  1. Kathryn Burrington February 14, 2014 at 2:20 pm #

    What a shame you forgot your camera, however, your words describe everything beautifully and have me longing to go there. I’m very intrigued about the toilet too. What a tease!
    I’m also intrigued about the energy you speak of. What an amazing experience. I haven’t seen that much of Spain but I would dearly love to and this sounds well worth a visit when I do.

    • Jackie De Burca February 15, 2014 at 8:41 am #

      Thanks Kathryn. Yes I am still upset about that, but I will go again, hopefully quite soon. So for that reason I will leave you wondering about the toilets and let the next set of photos speak for themselves. 🙂

      As a creative person you’ll appreciate the difference between a place, be it a hotel, restaurant etc. that is functioning really well because of skill, good ideas and good management versus a place that the people have put their own essence into as much as possible. In the Taller de Cuina Carmen Guillemot, this couple have done that and so very beautifully.

  2. Paul (@luxury__travel) February 14, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    What a pity about your camera, Jackie!

    Lamb cooked for 36 hours? That’s sounds divine. I imagine it just melted in the mouth.

    Interesting that they didn’t feel steak sourced locally was up to the same standards as that from Nebraska. I’m curious as to why that would be as I can’t help but think there must still be some excellent options nearby… no? Or there must be something really special about that steak???

    As for the price… 150 euros sounds like excellent value.

  3. Jackie De Burca February 14, 2014 at 5:35 pm #

    I will go again Paul, and won’t make the same mistake about my camera. I was really disappointed with myself, because the food deserved better photos.

    The lamb did melt in my mouth, it was amazing, but so was everything. Yes the steak is special, hard to describe as I took one bite only to taste but it was out of this world, and steak is not my first choice normally.

    We all felt that it was great value for how excellent it was, and the interior also deserves good photos .. so next time.

  4. Lee Briggs February 15, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

    You’ve done a great job describing your experience at this restaurant. I always enjoy reading about exceptional restaurants no matter where they are. I will keep this information so that if I find myself anywhere near the area of Alcanar I’ll be able to try it for myself.

  5. Jackie De Burca February 15, 2014 at 5:55 pm #

    Thanks very much Lee. I hope you sometime find yourself in this neck of the woods and you can also enjoy the divine experience of eating there.

  6. noel June 4, 2014 at 9:21 pm #

    For tapa style plates, those look quite ample and delicious…the prices sound pretty good for the food and restaurant of this caliber. I’m hungry as I’m writing this down, unfortunately.

    • Jackie De Burca June 5, 2014 at 10:07 am #

      Hope you got fed Noel 🙂 They are ample and I think for the ingredients and what they do with them, it is actually very good value. You can also go a la carte, in which case you could sample their food for less. We couldn’t resist the tasting menu.

  7. alison June 5, 2014 at 12:38 am #

    It’s rare to eat in a restaurant twice and have the same wonderful experience twice. This spot must be quite a find. Although I sympathize with your camera dilemma, you did an amazing job of describing the dishes. It’s probably a good writing exercise to not always rely on the visual and work with the description and words. Great job, my mouth is watering.

    • Jackie De Burca June 5, 2014 at 10:05 am #

      Thanks so much Alison, that’s lovely to hear. This couple are so in tune with the love they have for what they do and also art, the combination does make the restaurant and experience a special find. Naturally I was relieved to see that they are consistent, that we didn’t just get them on a “high” day, the first time around. 🙂

  8. Kathryn Burrington June 5, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

    Love the new photos! They really bring it to life! I so want to eat here! 🙂

    • Jackie De Burca June 5, 2014 at 2:12 pm #

      Thanks Kathryn 🙂 You need to add it to your bucket list, I’m sure you’d love it. Did you like the cheeky one of outside the ladies loo?

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