by The Urban Grocer in Cool Travel on Thursday 1 October 2009

Dinner at La Terraza del Casino in Madrid is, without a doubt, a once-in-a-lifetime gastronomic experience. Commanding views of Madrid at night are overtaken only by the even more breathtaking, sometimes absurd, always surprising, cuisine. Executive Chef Paco Roncero, protégée to the infamous Ferrán Adrià of Barcelona’s El Bulli fame, is the master behind this untouchably creative, gastronomic achievement. Here, there is no menu.

And as the food arrives, it is clear that nothing is as it seems. Sublime olive oil butter is offered up in what looks like a miniature tube of toothpaste, then a walnut and truffle sponge is followed by ‘Chocolate – grass’ and ‘SpherifiCAted Olives’. The latter is served, jiggling, on a porcelain spoon, to be downed in one bite that instantaneously bursts and oozes on the tongue. A dozen-plus small dishes later, dessert arrives: ‘Coulant – Nitro with hazelnut dust’, prepared tableside, liquid nitrogen steaming out of its container and all. The whole experience – from dessert to tapas and everything in between – is an awe-inspiring molecular gastronomy masterpiece, saturated with transcendent flavors and dazzling creations.