Cinc Sentits is the Catalan restaurant of Jordi Artal at its new location on Carrer Eneteça. Artal held 1 Michelin star in his previous location. Consequently, there is a lot of whispering about the star.
Will he get it back?
How long will it take?
At Cinc Sentits, Jordi Artal, champions Catalan ingredients and producers.
But let us start at the beginning. Guests are typically welcomed by Artal’s mother Roser and so are we. A diminutive woman who asks for our coats and tells us about the first space we will enter. It is inspired by the trees of Tarragona, where the family is originally from, as seen from above. An extremely abstract rendition. In this holding room, we are given some small bites and ambrosial vermouth made especially for them from a rescued heirloom grape variety and served in a porron.
Guests receive an aperitif in the holding room inspired by Tarragona.
The head sommelier takes us to the dining room. It is a square room, with large round tables, draped with thick white tablecloths and picked out by the light. They look like low flying UFOs.
2 Menus to choose from 90€ or 119€ for 11 courses
There are two menus to choose from: a traditional 3-course menu for 90€ or the 11-course menu for 119€. It was a toss-up between a new pair of sunglasses and Cinc Sentits. The restaurant wins- if I’m going to do this then I want the full experience.
Jewel-like plating with vibrant colours and seasonal ingredients.
The portions are slightly bigger then what we’ve had in the antechamber. To start, a celeriac soup with strips of fermented carrot for which we are given a teaspoon to eat and even so, I finish it in two bites. There is a warm oyster on a dish made to look like it’s shell. Each dish comes with its own notes, slightly larger than a packet of matches and slotted into a wooden stand next to the plate. Thus, the information is there should I want it or I can ignore it. This is in juxtaposition to restaurants where waiters drone on about the story and I have to politely sit through it.
I am beyond excited to see sea urchin garum listed as one of the ingredients that will accompany the razor clam. In reality, it isn’t given much room of its own on the plate and plays the chorus to the dish as a whole. There is a silky tumble of calamari. A small fillet of trout to follow and then we arrive at our final savory dish: two cubes of Galician beef.
Nowhere near being satiated, my friend and I busy ourselves with finishing off the bread, which has been replenished twice during our meal.
Three desserts follow, including one that involves liquid nitrogen and the donning of a black glove for our sommelier cum waiter.
It’s a subtle meal. Quasi Kaiseki. There is a great emphasis on providers. This is made clear in the elegant pamphlet that is handed out at the end of the meal which comes with a map of Catalunya pointing out culinary geographical points of interest like shrimp from Palamós.
The meal is Kaiseki-like in its subtleness and reliance on seasonality.
And it’s not just the food that is slow, as in Slow Food / KM 0. The service is adagio paced. This leaves ample time to muse and consider or fret and fidget depending on your constitution.
C/ Entença, 60