Spoonik is an unconventional, high-end restaurant where the food forms just one aspect of an immersive dining experience. It’s not necessarily for everyone, but go with an open mind and you may just find yourself another one of Spoonik’s legions of fans.
Latin American roots
Spoonik is the creation of Jon Giraldo and Jaimie Lieberman. They are living proof that not every chef was born clutching a spatula: both have had another life outside of food. Columbian Jon has a degree in Law and Mexican Jamie is a photographic artist (you can check out his work at jaimelieberman.com). Perhaps it was these different perspectives that helped them develop their unique approach to dining. Be that as it may, both have learned their culinary craft at such top-drawer establishments as Hoffmann (Barcelona), El Celler de Can Roca (Girona) and Ramon Freixa (Madrid).
Not surprisingly, Spoonik’s food reflects the chefs’ backgrounds, making use of modern, innovative techniques on Catalan, Mexican, Colombian and many other flavours and textures.
Ready for something different?
Spoonik lies in the northern Sarria-Sant Gervasi neighbourhood of Barcelona. It’s a pleasant, mainly residential area with a laid-back vibe, a little off the tourist trail. Nice, but not necessarily the first place you would go searching for an unorthodox dining experience.
Inside Spoonik, the beautiful and eclectic interior shows all the influence of an artist-in-residence, including examples of Jaime’s work. This attention to detail goes all the way through to the toiletries in the bathrooms.
However, the décor only provides the backdrop to an evening at Spoonik. One thing that visitors are unanimous about is that the owners provide a memorable experience. Typically, it begins with guests meeting the chefs and the rest of the team. There is just one sitting (make sure you’re on time!) and you’re probably going to find yourself getting to know your fellow diners – you’re going to be sitting next to them. Over the next three to four hours, there’s usually around fifteen dishes. Expect a lot of interaction with the staff as each is enthusiastically explained. Courses are paired, if you’ve chosen this option, with carefully selected wines. Again, the sommelier will be keen to explain all. Music forms an integral part of the evening, with different pieces accompanying each gastronomic component. You may even get some real, live opera. To complete the theatrical experience, the owners use cleverly projected lights to create different moods.
Put all this together and you can see that the owners’ stated aim of creating ‘emotional gastronomy’ is far more than just cheffy pretension.
But what about the food?
There’s no point in trying to describe a definitive Spoonik menu. By the time you read this, the courses will have changed according to what’s seasonally available, and the chefs will probably have some new innovations to try out. But just to give you a flavour – so to speak – of past dishes, how about a continental breakfast with potato foam, marinated salmon, slow-cooked egg and a touch of coffee? Or seaweed spaghetti with Japanese mushrooms, black truffle oil and caviar? Reviewers have praised Spoonik’s scallop dish with mashed Jerusalem artichoke, the ceviche of shrimp, and an ‘Autumn landscape’ of royal chestnuts, pumpkin, chanterelles and carrot sponge.
With dishes that are often experimental, it’s inevitable that Spoonik’s fare doesn’t please everyone. That’s especially the case with so many separate courses. As one Trip Advisor reviewer put it, “Not every dish will hit the mark…but the ones that do are unforgettable.” A stroll through Trip Advisor’s archives does reveal a few disappointed visitors. However, they were few and far between – most consider the food to be exceptional, and on a par with the rest of the experience.
There’s no doubt that Spoonik offers a uniquely memorable dining experience. For many, that will be recommendation enough. Certainly, the food is innovative and exquisitely prepared. This is reflected in the price, which is by no means cheap.
Bear in mind that a trip to Spoonik really benefits from a gastronomic open mind. One reviewer, for example, commented that the Flower of the Amazon dish was “the strangest sensation on my palate I ever had.” If that description makes you nervous, well, maybe Spoonik isn’t for you. But if it intrigues and excites, then what are you waiting for?
Spoonik Restaurante is located at Carrer de Bertran, 28, 08023 Barcelona, Spain. The restaurant is open Sunday to Wednesday at 21hr. Thursday at 13:30hr and 21hr. Friday and Saturday at 13:30hr and 21:30hr, Closed noons from Sunday to Wednesday. Reservations can be made via telephone on +34 934 88 64 84 Website: http://www.spoonik.com/