The 'last supper' is served at world's greatest restaurant
Fifty lucky diners feasted on a 49-course menu including dishes with baffling names such as "mimetic peanuts" and "clam-merengue" -- as the world's most revered restaurant opened for the last time.
El Bulli, two hours north of Barcelona, closed permanently last night, to the disappointment of millions who never had the chance to secure a table.
Ferran Adria (49) shocked the culinary world with the announcement in January 2010 that he was closing the famous restaurant which had won a coveted three Michelin stars and had been acclaimed as best in the world five times.
But he is adamant this last night's farewell party for "friends and family" -- was not retirement.
"El Bulli is not closing, it is transforming itself, because its soul is going to remain," Mr Adria said.
Instead of the gruelling hours spent by Mr Adria and his team of 70 chefs in creating exotic morsels composed of spheres, gels, emulsifiers and foams, the culinary alchemist wants to concentrate on other things.
He plans to convert the picturesque site of his restaurant in Cala Montjoi, into the elBulli Foundation, a "gastronomic think tank" and creativity centre dedicated to pushing his avant garde cuisine to even greater heights.
Despite the fact that a meal -- a set menu of up to 50 dishes -- costs each diner €275, not including taxes or wine, Mr Adria insists he was losing half-a-million euro a year.
For the past few years, more than a million people entered the annual lottery for a table in El Bulli itself, but only around 8,000 were fortunate to eat there each season. Last night, the final selected few no doubt shared smug smiles as they took their place at the historic "last supper".
It began with a dish called "dry martini" -- a spherical globule of olive juice placed on the tongue and then sprayed with atomised gin and vermouth -- and ended, 48 dishes later, with an offering called "Box" -- "cubed deconstructed chocolate delights".
In between came dishes such as "smoked mousse" "flowers paper" and "hare loin in its own blood".(© Daily Telegraph, London)