Another chef Adria blazes a trail
HIS older brother, Ferran Adria, 51, ran one iconic restaurant, elBulli, that attracted chefs and gourmands from all over the world until it closed in 2011.
Only about 8,000 people landed reservations at the restaurant in Roses, Spain, annually out of two million who tried.
But Albert Adria, 44, equal parts artist and businessman, has a different game plan.
He has opened four restaurants in Barcelona, with another one to come, and wants to serve as many people as possible in fun, casual spaces.
Perhaps from his experience working at elBulli, which he called a "monster restaurant", he knows that whatever he opens has to make money.
The restaurants, 41 Degrees Experience, Tickets, Bodega 1900 and Pakta, and Yauarcan, which is set to open in April, are all located around Avinguda del Paral.lel, named after the fact that the street is parallel to the Equator.
He told The Sunday Times that all five restaurants will serve about 800 people a day in total. Where possible, they feature bars where people can hang out with drinks and tapas, and also areas where gourmands can sample multi-course meals.
41 Degrees started off in January 2011 as a cocktail bar that also served elBulli's famous snacks. It has morphed into a place where 16 people every night can dine on a 41-course menu of snacks and finger food with cocktails, at different times between 7pm and 11.30pm. From midnight to 2am, the place becomes a bar.
Tickets, which opened two months later, is a tapas bar with a carnival theme. Reservations, which are hard to get, can be made only online.
Bodega 1900, which opened last year, is a vermouth bar serving jamon, potato chips made in-house and Spanish cheeses, among other nibbles. It harks back to a time when people would unwind after the work day with a glass of vermouth and snacks.
Pakta, which also opened last year, serves Nikkei cuisine, created by Japanese who settled in Peru.
"I love the concept of fusion, not so much the word," Adria said. "Quality Japanese produce mixed with the flavours and colours of Peruvian cuisine, the explosion is unbelieveable."
Yauarcan will serve Mexican food and feature a tequila-and-taco bar. It is inspired by his love for the cuisine, developed over some 15 trips to the country.
"Within a 500m radius, we have huge offerings, but they are totally different," said the chef, who was in Singapore to cook on New Year's Eve at Catalunya, the Spanish restaurant at the Fullerton Pavilion, where some elBulli alumni work currently.
Referring to the economic woes in Spain, he said: "Because of the crisis, people are looking for fun, a good atmosphere. Maybe in five or six years, gastro restaurants may come back.
"Sometimes a crisis is good. It is bad for people to suffer, but it keeps them real."
It also inspires them to think up original ideas, he added, citing the restaurant L'Eggs by Spanish chef Paco Perez in Barcelona, which features the titular item cooked every which way.