Fine Dining Best of the World

Enigma Revelation: Albert Adrià Returns to Amaze. The Avant-Garde that Shakes Barcelona.

Marco Colognese
copertina enigma albert adria

The core of Enigma, a place that looks "fantastic" in the literal sense of the term, is a spectacular journey winding through techniques and flavors capable of enhancing each other. Albert Adrià's new era in Barcelona.

The restaurant 

A preamble is essential: Spain offers a rate of gastronomic experiences that involve an unparalleled entertainment journey worldwide. This, of course, without overlooking the value of what is found on the plate. That said, Barcelona is a city brimming with tempting stimuli of all kinds, among which Enigma by Albert Adrià stands out for its originality, beyond the weight of a truly significant surname.

PACE Gastro 1067 pacegastro 1
@Pace Gastro
Enigma PepoSegura 1
@Pepo Segura

Born in 1969: at the age of sixteen, he dropped out of school and joined the elBulli team. A couple of years later, he started to focus more and more on pastry, to the extent that during the winter seasons, when the restaurant was closed, he gained experience in important establishments such as Turull in Terrassa, Escribà in Barcelona, Totel in Elda with Maestro Francisco Torreblanca; he also didn't miss the opportunity for an internship in Paris with Guy Savoy. "Looking back, I think I've done a lot of things that had never been done before. I don't like to think I was the first in everything, but certainly, in some areas, I was."

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@Fabian Wester

Albert leaves elBulli after ten years, midway through the season, to write his "Los postres de elBulli," published in October 1998 and winner of the best pastry book award at the Perigueux gastronomic fair. At the end of the same year, he rejoins the team in the research and development department at elBullicatering. In 2000, a new location for the laboratory is established in Barcelona, near La Boquería. Alongside Oriol Castro and his brother Ferran, he is involved in creating the menu for the following season. Similar to the fashion world, elBulli's offerings would change from year to year.

albert adria enigma 4

Albert becomes the director of Bullitaller, working closely with Ferran and Castro. During this time, he collaborates with Michel Bras, Heston Blumenthal, Andoni Aduriz, Martín Berasategui, and Charlie Trotter. In 2006, as a gastrobar concept pioneer, he opens Inopia Classic Bar in Barcelona with Juan Martínez. Two years later, despite strong ties, Albert leaves elBulli. A year later, he publishes his second book and directs the documentary 'A Day at elBulli,' winning several awards. In 2010, he concludes the Inopia project to start elBarri with the Iglesias brothers, bringing together various restaurants and gastronomic concepts: Tickets, Pakta, Bodega 1900, 41º, Niño Viejo, Hoja Santa, and finally, Enigma.

albert adria enigma 9

In 2013, elBullifoundation is created, and Albert is a board member. He remains tireless, involved in consultations and collaborations. In 2016, he launches the first project outside Spain, "50 Days by Albert Adrià" in London, followed two years later by the opening of Cakes & Bubbles. In 2019, Mercado Little Spain in Manhattan is born, a tribute to Spanish gastronomy in collaboration with José Andrés. In November 2021, following the pandemic period, Albert opens Admo with Alain Ducasse in Paris, facing the Eiffel Tower, a temporary project lasting a hundred days, representing a productive-creative alliance between two giants of their respective gastronomic worlds.

Copertine Admo Ducasse adria

Enigma finally reopens in 2022, and currently, Albert dedicates himself full-time to it, along with various collaborations in research and development projects with food companies. The initial proposal includes a fusion of fine dining tapas for lunch and a cocktail bar in the afternoon.

Pic by Enigma

The new version of Enigma, a place with a fantastic appearance in the literal sense, is a spectacular journey through techniques and flavors that elevate each other, amidst a team of service men and women orderly bustling in a hall masterfully coordinated by Xavi Alba, managing time with extreme precision.

Xavi Alba
Enigma PepoSegura 2
@Pepo Segura

Many dishes are completed or prepared at the table, especially in the initial phase of a menu that heavily relies on seasonal ingredients, as stated on the website: "Enigma is primarily a restaurant that offers seasonal products beyond the four seasons. Our menu is formulated month by month according to the products found in the markets, applying all our technical knowledge but always in service of the product itself. (...) We leave some creations throughout the year for their timelessness, others are incorporated or removed (…)."

Enigma PepoSegura 3
@Pepo Segura

The dishes

It goes without saying that the menu, priced at $240 and divided into three acts (efìmeros, tapas, and postres, plus the final elBulli with petit fours "historia de un sueño," created in the Cala Montjoi era), is unique.

team enigma 1

It starts with a small show at the table with the Earl Grey tea liquid ravioli, white grape, and frozen lemon cube, an elBulli spherification technique done instantly. Then, a sequence of about twenty ideas, some remarkable and others fleeting, like the 'mozzarella' soufflé, which for an Italian is just a fleeting memory of the original.

Albert Adria Enigma Sobrassada expres moitorne food
Albert Adria Enigma Soufle de mozzarella moitorne food

Undoubtedly, the two and a half hours spent at Enigma are filled with fun and excellent taste stimuli, with a rhythm that allows savoring every bite without turning the long sequence into a hostage situation. The chestnut biscuit with sea urchins, sweet potato, and sour cream biscuit is delightful; the play on green mandarin gel with a touch of saffron pistil leaves a beautiful memory.

Albert Adria Enigma Castana erizo y trufa blanca moitorne food

The dumpling of water skin with wheat foam and chilihacle is incredibly, wonderfully crunchy. A series of small delectable servings featuring caviar culminate in the fried egg, followed by the freshness of sea cucumber with crispy vinegar skin and Chinese tomato soup. 

Albert Adria Enigma Coconut with caviar sauce moitorne food
Albert Adria Enigma Tomato trio moitorne food

The marriage of anchovy and squid with an ultra-thin mollusk veil and its sweetness taming the fish's savoriness is a small masterpiece. Among the tapas, there's daikon with cocido, where a thin slice of Japanese turnip is added to a rather liquid-rich gelatin made from boiled meat and vegetables, just like cocido.

Albert Adria Enigma Daikon turnip with cocido sauce moitorne food

The sequence of crustaceans in the ages of Palamos prawn is remarkable: raw, marinated in lime, seasoned in salt and sugar, and boiled. If the truffle dumpling with artichoke is very good, the Kuzusuizen with squid ink sauce is extremely exquisite and has a sensational texture, created with starch extracted from the root of a climbing plant native to Japan, the pueraria lobata.

Albert Adria Enigma Shrimp cycle of life moitorne food
Albert Adria Enigma Kuzusuizen with squid ink saucepacegastro

Equally impressive is the zucchini seed rice with broth and chicken crest. The hare and crab ragout covered with a gelatinous veil of consommé obtained from both is exquisite. The foie gras flan with hare sauce, the final savory course of the journey, is, of course, exceptional. It goes without saying that with Albert Adrià in charge of pastries, you're on safe ground, for example, with the persimmon kimchi with yuzu sorbet and crispy beetroot, but also the cocoa brittle with hazelnuts and cocoa butter cream. When appetite and technique move in unison.

Albert Adria Enigma Membrillo Occo moitorne food
Albert Adria Enigma Frutas de temporada 2 moitorne food



C/ de Sepúlveda, 38, 40, L'Eixample, 08015 Barcelona, Spain

Phone: +34 932 20 19 74


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