Well rested after a fantastic dinner the night before and coming off a solid breakfast and a swim in the sea, Rocky and I set off for round two at Quique’s(click here for round one). We were given the option again to begin our meal outside, but we thought the heat was a little much to enjoy our opening snacks on the patio, so we posted up in the adjacent sun room to get started.
A few minutes later, with tweezers and a glass of cava in hand, we were ready to roll. Since a lot of dishes were repeats from the previous night’s dinner, I’ll be brief.
Act 1: Appetizer.
Stick of smoked and fried cheese.
Broth of oak barrel and Barceló “Imperial” Rum. Oak rind.
Purple Dye Murex (sea snail). These sea snails were much bigger than the last ones with a more distinguished taste.
Currant of the sea at moment. The broth was different this round. It had a cleaner, less sea-watery flavor.
Mini endive and blood orange.
Raïm of Pastor.
Calamari rings. Octopus. Parsley and garlic Sea weed. They switched these up on us a bit. The calamari and octopus crisps replaced the star fish and sea urchin listed on the menu. They were all much crisper than at dinner, likely because the day was much less humid.
Once again, it was time to move the show inside.
Act 2: Tapas
Pepperwort. Again with mackerel. Though they told us the oil of any blue fish will have the same spice-neutralizing effect.
Paper of Cereals.
Almonds. Almonds prepared into gelee, oil, and slivers. Very clean, light flavor.
Strawberry and vinegar crêpe. Strawberry ‘crepes’ with sliced berry and mint. Incredible. Spectacular little bites. The mint really set it off.
Apple tart and Campari.
Cuttlefish, lime, wasabi and white turnip pie. With flying fish roe. Mild spice, good textures, and clean, distinct flavors. Rocky said: ‘That’s awesome! Way better than what I had at that other place.’ I’m still not sure which other place she was speaking of.
Pork jowls and Paprika.
Red pepper. Once again, the pepper was watermelon. Still brilliant.
Cococha of Iberian ham and pilpil sauce.
Smoked bread. For the ‘cococha’.
Cubalibre of Foie Gras, Rum Barceló Imperial. Still rockin, but much smaller than before.
Bread Service. To accompany Act 3. Again with: traditional, parmesan, pesto, white truffle, and soppressata.
Act 3: Mains.
Tomato. As beautifully savory as before.
Cocopinut – Margarita. Regarding the ‘Cocopinut’.. Well.. Hmm.. I don’t know if interesting is the right word.. Maybe bad? I tried to find pleasure in the coconut-peanut-lime concoction, though it eluded me. Sadly, this was among the worst bites of the trip for me. As for the ‘Margarita’.. a necessary refreshing bite.
Horchata and Tiger nuts. This plate emphasizes the awe in awesome. Light, chilled cocoa butter encapsulating creamy foie gras floating in truffle cream with slices of tiger nuts. Nutty, earthy, sweet, and rich with fun texture play. A big winner.
What’s a tiger nut? Our server brought some out to try, but said we wouldn’t like them. Fibrous, crunchy, and watery, I found that chewing them through was sweetly rewarding and I ate them all.
Red king prawn from Dénia. Tea of king prawns and chards. I was floored again by the excellence of the prawns themselves as well as their preparation, simply lightly cooked in seawater. Alongside was a ‘tea’ made from prawn shells, though it had a consistency closer to a bisque, which was amazing as well.
Eel. Pieces of fresh eel served with faux baby eels(which are popular in the area when in season) made from what seemed to be pasta. A very rich dish. Rocky was mainly excited for the small garlic chip garnish.
Oyster and dew. This dish was the bomb. Normandy oysters with oyster gel and yuzu flying fish roe. Wonderfully intense oyster flavor complemented with citrus and salinity. The tiny popping roe was a fun supplement to the texture.
Cow heart. A fantastic little dish. Thin sliced beef over a bun filled with warm stock(one of those exploding one-bite scenarios). In Midwest terms: it tasted like nice sliced roast beef on top of a fritter filled with jus.
The seven services of the pigeon.
(1) Roasted. (2) Liver. The dish with the foam/mousse had a good cashew and mushroom taste. The liver was very strong flavored, almost too much so, but the sauce around it was nice.
(3) Sweet corn tartlet. This was damn delicious. I think it fit into the pigeon tasting in that the bird’s diet is heavy on corn.
(4) Breast on sprout. The breast was cooked spot-on and had a great radiating flavor. The grains and sprouts were a delightful accompaniment.
(5) Consommé. A glass of pigeon consommé to sip along with the pigeon service. It was okay, but nothing too great on it’s own.
(6) Rice of pigeon, liquorice and orange. Another super-rich rice dish, though more manageable than the previous night’s rice plate. The orange and herbaceous licorice brightened the richness of the densely pigeoned grains.
(7) Chutney of Mango. Small, barely ripe mango pieces with a nice, solid crunch served with vanilla and mango gelee. Nice when paired with the flower petals, and extraordinary when bit with the mint. Not quite cohesive as part of the pigeon service, but nice to bridge the gap into desserts.
Act 4: Desserts.
Iced yoghurt, rose aroma and blood orange. Oh wow. The rose essence was like a punch in the face(in a good way). A juicy orange slice hidden underneath was a good surprise.
Biscuit of sweet potato. Squash donut. Cocktail (Michael Jackson). A moist pastry with sweet potato mousse and cinnamon. The squash donut was yummy with smooth pumpkin filling. A cocktail of Arrope, black vodka, coffee liquor, bitter chocolate, and orange zest. I guess I don’t know why ‘Michael Jackson’ was parenthesized on the menu.
By this time the day had cooled a little and we relocated to the patio to finish up.
Act 5: The Magic Box. The Tree.
Macaron of chocolate. Chocolate marshmallow. Rocher of chocolate. Pompon of dry fruit. Chocolate caviar. Red fruit crystal.
Some wines we were served:
Having a meal at Quique Dacosta is like taking a culinary tour of the Costa Blanca. Quique’s understanding and employment of his local bounty is astounding. Though he already has a fair amount of accolades, I’m sure Chef Dacosta is just getting started into his prime years. I look forward to returning for another few rounds next time I’m in Spain.
Date of visit: September 19th, 2012
Quique Dacosta. Ctra. Las Marinas, Km. 3. Dénia, Spain. +34 965 784 179. http://www.quiquedacosta.es/