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The Accés Restaurant and Lounge in Barcelona features superb locally-inspired cuisine at reasonable prices. Executive Chef Fabian Quiles, former protégé of Michelin star chefs, serves up luxury-category cuisine from a glass-enclosed demonstration kitchen, offering a spectacular range of delectable delights. For an eight-month-old enterprise competing with some of Barcelona’s finest dining establishments, Accés is making serious inroads into the Catalonian culinary scene.
Our evening began with an amusé bouche from the Chef, consisting of Foie Gras with Crunchy Pistachios served with Pedro Ximenez Reduction. Custard-like in appearance, the rich, buttery appetizer could easily have been served as a dessert, not sweet, but thick, creamy and pleasing to the palate. This is a smaller portion of the same selection that is offered among the eleven “starter” choices found on the menu.
Four wines were paired with each tantalizing course within the Tasting Menu or Menu Dégustation (55 Euros). After a presentation of two kinds of bread and all i oli (olive oil), we were served a generous “starter” portion of Grilled Scallops with Shrimp Broth and aromatic touches. The great or “King Scallop” is a huge portion of seafood from the edible mollusk, emanating from a famously recognizable shell used for the logo of the Royal Dutch Shell company. Topped with a tasty local shrimp, this appetizer was paired with the only rosé or Rosat wine on the menu, the Spanish Excellens, a Rioja triad of Garnacha, Tempranillo and Viura. Located in north-central Spain, the D.O. Rioja wines (Denominacion de Origen) were the first recognized wines to be given this status in 1933. The title of D.O. means that wines conform to various conditions of production, applying to both vineyard management (e.g. permitted grape varieties, planting densities, and crop yields) and winemaking techniques (such as aging regimes). In total there are about 70 DO titles, making this the largest of the Spanish vintages. Unlike many sweet American roses, the Rioja rose was dry with subtle fruity notes.
Other interesting looking “starter” items available on the evening menu included Tuna Tartare with Quail Egg and Refreshing Seaweed Salad, Red Tuna Talaki with Scents of Lime and Black Sesame Seeds, and Cured Duck Breast with Pear, Quince, Wild Asparagus and Mustard Vinaigrette.
Our next course was the Gratinated Cod, served with mousse of garlic and puree of figs. Fresh and flaky, the cod was rich and just a little oily, perhaps due to the all i oli (a Catalan type of aioli garlic) used in its preparation. Our waiter, Edward, notified us the cod was brought from the Malaga region south of Barcelona. The fish was paired with a second wine from the Rioja region, this a white Finca La Emperitriz (D.O. Viura). Wonderfully cold and crisp, our wine was the perfect complement to the excellent cod. Other selections on the fish menu included Bouillabaisse a la Catalane (Catalan style Fish and Shellfish soup), Supreme of Salmon with Pink Peppercorn Sauce, and Roasted Shade Fish with Dill Oil and Pumpkin puree.
Our third course was the Lamb “Royale Style” with vegetable chips. Crisp and a little crunchy on the outside, the tender lamb fell lovingly apart on the plate with every touch of the fork. It was served on a bed of potato-onion puree. A hearty glass of Altarivs red wine (Negre) accompanied our delicious lamb. Other meat selections found on the menu included Deer Stew, Chicken Breast Stuffed with Red Peppers and Green Pepper Sauce, Pan Seared Duck Breast with Sweet Potato and Pear, and, finally, Filet Mignon with Polenta Pancake in a Reduction of Red Wine and Mushrooms.
Our lovely meal reached its zenith with a pair of delectable desserts. First was the Duo of Pineapple and Coconut, a classic combination of sweet and lively refreshment to the palate. We were also served the Chocolate Coulani with Vanilla Ice Cream—the quintessential “lava cake” that rivaled some of the best we’ve ever eaten! Accompanying this magnificent finale of gastronomic delight was a delicious dessert wine, a Muscat from Catalunya, Emendis Dolc Muscat (D.O. Penedes-Muscat). Penedes is the most important wine growing area in Catalonia in both volumes produced and diversity of wine styles, including Spain’s famous sparkling wine, Cava. Other dessert options include Crema Catalan with Passion Fruit, Fresh Fruit Salad on Puff Pastry, Crispy Sorbets, Spongy Briochelle and Cinnamon Ice Cream, and a Selection of Catalan Cheeses.
Owned and managed by Julian Lewis, a seasoned veteran of European and American restaurant businesses, we found Accés offered unparalleled service from the time we entered the cozy dining establishment. After initial contact was made to set up our visit, a confirmation was booked quickly and emailed immediately to confirm our reservation, standard practice for this upscale restaurant. The highest level of personal customer service is what gives Accés its USP, as Julian explained, its “unique selling point.” Its website is user-friendly, offering different group menus and a flexible beverage package, featuring a new cocktail menu featuring a gin-based line-up of new concoctions. Julian wants his customers to know they’re in a caring, accommodating environment from the time they walk in the door.
Reservations are strongly recommended. Though Accés has seating for up to 160 persons you don’t want to miss out on booking a table in advance for the evening. Chef Quiles, Owner Julian Lewis and their superb staff are sure to provide first-class service in their elegant but relaxed restaurant, providing cuisine that is second to none. Find out why they say Accés is Barcelona’s Best Kept Secret and your best choice for a celebration, starting off your evening, or ending your day in true style. In celebration of New Year’s Eve 2015, the restaurant will serve a special dégustation menu with entertainment for only €120. Check out the menu here: http://acces-bcn.com/en/nye-2015.html
C/Aribau 55, 08011