The Spanish restaurant from three El Bulli alumni where the magic never stops
For many, Oriol Castro, Mateu Casañas and Eduard Xatruch will always be the guys from El Bulli. It’s an association they developed over the course of a decade working as senior chefs with Spanish cook and restaurateur Ferran Adrià, but since his legendary restaurant closed in 2011, the three chefs have been working on a ground-breaking project of their own.
In 2012, the trio opened Compartir, meaning ‘to share,’ in Cadaqués, on the Costa Brava, as a modest, modern cooking concept in collaboration with the El Bulli Foundation, a project that had recently begun. But two years later, in 2014, they couldn’t resist the urge the dive back into avant-garde cooking and they embarked on their most ambitious project to date: Disfrutar, in Barcelona.
Meaning ‘to enjoy,’ Disfrutar has become the go-to restaurant for those who love new gastronomic ideas. In two years, the team has created 170 different courses, including a corn on the cob snack using a multi-spherification technique they developed themselves, and a whisky tart that involves pouring distilled alcohol into the customer’s hands to let them experience the aroma. The restaurant quickly received numerous plaudits, including a Michelin star, and their work has already inspired other cooks around the world.
A firm grounding in non-conformity, creative freedom and the search for excellence has allowed the chefs to transform Disfrutar into the restaurant of the moment – and a worthy winner of The Miele One To Watch Award. When asked if they are El Bulli disciples, they are quick to reply in the affirmative: “We are, and always will be, because El Bulli is a fundamental part of our lives.”
For Oriol, Casañas and Xatruch, being at the very top of the restaurant industry while working with Ferran Adrià and the late restaurateur Juli Soler felt perfectly normal. It is only now that they have their own company and an army of kitchen staff that every fresh accolade surprises and delights them. But despite the newfound fame and success, they are firm in the belief that all they want to do is follow their creativity and keep on enjoying it – after the all, the clue’s in the name of the restaurant.
Carrer de Villarroel, 163
+34 933 48 68 96
Chef portrait: Joan Valera; dish Francesc Guillamet