It was my Husband’s birthday whilst on our recent trip to Barcelona so I decided that it would only be right to find a great restaurant to celebrate the occasion. I set my sights on Tickets – notoriously difficult to get a reservation for. So I was unbelievably happy that through hours of trying I managed to book our table on his actual birthday! Needless to say we were very excited about our meal and had high expectations….
The restaurant is part owned by the Adria brothers, who have a number of other restaurants and bars nearby as you can see on the map below (they call the area ‘el Barri Adria’)
One such vermouth bar is right across the road from Tickets – Bodega 1900 – so we popped over for vermouth & negronis before our meal – having never tried vermouth for fear of not liking it, I was so surprised by how smooth it was and would definitely try more.
After our drinks we headed across the road to the restaurant – it must only be 30 steps away!
The restaurant itself felt quite informal and quirky, nothing like you would expect a Michelin star restaurant to be
There were a lot of fun touches, such as the menus which depict the owners of the restaurant in caricature form
We sat with our drinks (caipirinha for me, pisco sour for him) whilst we chatted about which wine to choose
The Tickets logo was everywhere, from the coasters to the napkins
I had read that a lot of people who visited Tickets would recommend the ‘Servers Choice’ menu, whereby your waiter asks about any allergies, likes and dislikes, then just brings you out a stream of dishes – decision made, how could we not do this?! We didn’t even glance at the menu so we really never knew what was going to come which made it really exciting! There were a few things we were asked about that we hadn’t had before – eel, octopus & razor clams – which we said that we definitely wanted to try
First up I had the liquid olive spheres (the husband’s not a fan so I had two to make up for it!)
You spoon them out of the large bowl & into the little dish you see below so you can put them in your mouth – they were so delicate I was worried about popping them before I even ate them but managed not to! They have such an intense olive flavour that bursts on your tongue.
Anchovies with crispy chicken skin – so crunchy and perfectly salty, the spanish anchovies – or boquerones – are beautifully fresh & glossy
Baby cuttlefish with spicy pepper sauce (something else that was a first) A bit like squid in texture and perfectly cooked, the sauce had a good kick of spice and was quite creamy
Meringue with aubergine, sesame & tapioca – this was filled with smoke which was very clever but was just like a mouthful of tobacco – we both really disliked this and wouldn’t recommend it at all!
Basil air waffle with cheese & pine nuts – WOW! At first glance the waffle looked a little dry but it was pillowy soft, warm, and filled with cheese & pine nuts – just like pesto!
After this we had some cantaloupe melon with kumquat & coriander (which I forgot to take a photo of – oops!) which was sort of a palette cleanser – it was a little sour for my tastes so would maybe be another one that I would miss out
Next was a mini airbag with Manchego cheese foam – a savory profiterole with the lightest creamy cheese foam inside, and more cheese on top – what’s not to like?! ‘With the smaller dishes our waiter would instruct us to pick it up with two fingers and eat in one bite’
Aged beef ‘airbaguette’ – this was incredible! A wafer thin, crisp, hollow mini baguette wrapped with aged beef which just melted in your mouth. I was amazed at how the chef used such rich ingredients throughout but still managed to keep the dishes light
‘Nordic Landscape’ marinated & smoked beef tenderloin – not only was this impressive to look at, but it was delicious! The deep smokey flavour of the tenderloin really came through
Fois gras – our waiter recommended that we eat half of this on its own and half with the crunchy bread. The fois was smooth & delicious by itself – I especially liked the sweetcorn sauce – but I preferred the contrast of textures when eaten with the bread
Tomato salad – a nice fresh interlude after the rich fois gras
Oysters with kimchi & yuzu – sweet and salty, the flavours reminded me of some oysters we had at New Year which were also quite sweet.
Razor clams with sesame – I was suprised at how much I enjoyed these! I love the flavour of sesame and it worked so well with the delicate clam. Luckily the clam itself was already cut in half so was easy to eat
Eel ciabatta with lemongrass & soy – another ingredient that was a first and one that conjoured up thoughs of cold eels in jelly, this was anything but. This reminded me of sesame prawn toast in both taste and texture and was a definite hit at our table
Next up was our favourite dish of the night – octopus with panko, kimchi mayo & pickles. The look of octopus has always put me off but oh. my. goodness. I’ve been missing out! It was so unbelievably light without a hint of chewiness. The panko crumbs on the bottom and the gorgeous kimchi mayo gave the perfect contrast. Even the pickles were amazing! If you visit promise me you’ll try it!
Although the husband is not usually a fan of mushrooms, the Portobello mushroom noodles went down a treat. Great strong mushroom flavours, with a nice helping of parmesan
At the beginning of the evening we were also offered a larger dish to have at the end of the savoury part of the meal – Wagyu beef or lobster. As we were unsure of how full we would be, we hung fire on our decision until we’d had the majority of our savoury dishes. Feeling just right, we opted for the whole lobster with steamed buns
This was definitely a good decision! The grilled lobster was so meaty and had already been cut into bitesize portions, perfect for popping into one of the buns and topping with the spicy chilli sauce, a squeeze of lime and some coriander
At this stage in the meal, the table behind us opted for the Wagyu which they passed over for us to smell (teasers!) and it looked and smelt great
After all of our many savoury dishes, we were led through into the dessert room which was crazy in a Willy Wonka-type way with huge fruit & candy canes covering the ceiling and screens playing the movie all around!
We sat at the bar where they were all ready and set up for us – this was fun as we could see all of the desserts being made. We were greeted with a fresh rose, which held a strawberry lychee sphere – glossy and full of sweet gel, the flavours were spectacular
Pegged on to a branch was a clear sphere with a stalk that looked like a transparent cherry, and was flavoured with cherry, amaretti & elderflower (all favourites of mine!) – I still have no idea how they made this, so clever! Again the flavours were great
Next was chocolate soil, and a cone with white chocolate & toffee – this was gorgeously creamy and had flavours of cinnamon & jam
This next dish looked EXACTLY like a round of cheese and we were fully expecting it to be savoury, but it was in fact white chocolate & praline cheesecake!
The outer ‘skin’ enclosed a super light, whipped cheesecake. The buttery biscuits were great for scooping up the filling, and even though the dish was really quite large, we polished off the lot!
A glass of port accompanied this dish nicely
After the cheesecake was baklava filled with pistachio praline – not only beautiful to look at inside and out, the pastry was crisp & flaky and the praline smooth with a good hit of pistachio
Last up was a sort of nougat/meringue covered in chocolate – I was glad it was a light one to finish with as we were heading towards being stuffed!
We ended the meal with cortados
The night was such a crazy fun experience and I’m SO happy we managed to get a table. Following our visit I would definitely say go with the surprise menu, as you can’t beat not knowing what’s coming next!
It’s one meal that won’t be forgotten in a hurry!
You can find the link to their website here. Have you visited any of the Adria brothers restaurants?