Ferran Adria goes downmarket with tapas bar

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World-renowned Spanish chef Ferran Adria has unveiled a new eatery in Barcelona, although it bears little resemblance to his emblematic and award-winning restaurant elBulli.

The 41 Degrees tapas and cocktail bar, which opened for business Tuesday night, boasts similar types of gastronomic delights that have made Adria famous -- but at more affordable prices.

The bar is also only the first of two new establishments that Adria and his brother Albert are planning. A restaurant called Tickets is to open next door, although no date has been announced.

"You have to understand this as a whole, you can go to Tickets and you can also go to the cocktail bar where there are different things on offer," said Albert. "Until we open the two locations it is not the finished work."

Ferran Adria, the guru of avant-garde cuisine, announced last year that elBulli, on Spain's northeastern Catalan coast, is to close in 2012 and then reopen as a non-profit foundation in 2014.

The restaurant in 2009 came top of the World's 50 Best Restaurants list for the fourth year in a row following a poll of more than 800 chefs, restaurant critics and industry insiders for Britain's Restaurant Magazine.

However last year it slipped to number two behind the Noma restaurant in Copenhagen.

The opening of 41 Degrees drew crowds of customers, journalists and onlookers to the 30-metre bar, decorated in grey and with subdued lighting.

Among the tapas, or appetisers, on offer are crisp mangoes with tagete flowers, crunchy tomatoes with basil butter, cornets of salmon roe with egg yolk, and black olive cakes.

Adria, who joined the kitchen staff of elBulli in 1984, and British chef Heston Blumenthal of The Fat Duck outside London, have since the late 1990s rocked the world of gastronomy by using science to "deconstruct" and rebuild food.

His creations both astonished diners and delighted reviewers, although some critics have dismissed him as elitist and pretentious. He has also had to respond to accusations that the chemicals he uses make his creations unhealthy.

© 2011 AFP

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