Albert Adrià is most famous for being one of the two brothers (along with Ferran) behind El Bulli in Spain. The restaurant closed in 2011 but its influence is still felt because it’s where many of the modernist (also called molecular) techniques that are commonplace today, such as spherification, foams and airs, were developed or incorporated into fine dining.
While Ferran is probably the better known of the two – he was the one who was interviewed most frequently – Albert is very well regarded by fellow chefs and restaurateurs for his creativity and skills in the pastry kitchen. He has written two incredibly beautiful dessert books but the recipes are so complicated they are almost entirely useless for most home cooks, and the ones in the El Bulli cookbooks, which the brothers co-wrote, are just as difficult.
Tapas – Tickets Cuisine, with recipes from the Adriàs’ Tickets restaurant in Barcelona, is much more accessible.
That’s not to say the dishes won’t take effort. For some recipes, you’ll need a scale that weighs increments of a tenth of a gram; several of them call for difficult-to-find ingredients such as calcium salt, calcium gluconolactate, alginate or specific types of flour or produce; and you’re going to have to find some way of calculating if the olive oil in your pantry has precisely 0.4 per cent acidity.
Even the recipes made with ingredients that are readily available in Hong Kong are going to be challenging – this is restaurant cooking, after all. And Tickets is not an ordinary tapas bar serving up patatas bravas and shrimp with garlic.
Easy-ish recipes include mini airbags filled with manchego cheese espuma (you’ll need a siphon for that one); oyster with ponzu sauce and salmon roe; artichokes with cured ham and parsley gelatin; tomato tartare; white asparagus spears with parmesan cream; orange salad with olive juice nectar; lettuce taco with ceviche; baby cuttlefish with ink vinaigrette and mentaiko; spicy tuna belly tartare with cherries; mussels with tomato mariniere; and toasted steamed brioche with truffled cheese.