VALENCIAN social media users are incensed once again after the latest offence of 'taking paella in vain' – a Twitter post showing a colander of boiled rice with a slice of processed meat on top has brought...
Quique Dacosta to open 'paella' restaurant in London
By thinkSPAIN Team Tue, May 21, 2019
VALENCIA-BASED celebrity chef Quique Dacosta's London restaurant is set to open on June 7 in the up-market Fitzroy neighbourhood, offering dishes largely based on the region's star recipe: paella.
Dacosta, who has three Michelin stars and two eponymous restaurants in Valencia city and in Dénia (Alicante province) – the latter of which was once named the top eatery in Spain – says his new premises at 64 Eastcastle Street in the UK capital is his first venture abroad.
“I'm very excited about being able to bring part of our tradition and cuisine to one of the five biggest capital cities in the world,” Dacosta says.
Its name says it all – Arròs QD – being the valenciano word for 'rice', followed by the chef's initials.
What non-Spaniards often term 'paella' is better known to Valencians as 'rice dishes', of which there are literally hundreds of recipes, paella making up just a handful of them and being probably the most-associated with Spanish food outside the country.
The extent of Dacosta's menu at his new London premises will give British diners an idea of just how many 'paellas' really exist a two-hour flight from their doorstep.
Other dishes will be served, of course – a selection of bespoke starters, vegetables, fish and roasted meat, plus dessert, using both Valencia rice and UK produce.
The wine list will be replete with Spanish varieties as well as from elsewhere in the world, helping to give wine from Spain a much-needed boost in the UK, where the only name really known is Rioja and where other varieties tend to be unbranded and cheap, giving an incorrect impression of the country's huge array of home-made drinks.
Also on the drinks front, 'creative' versions of classical cocktails will be served up in the exclusive lounge-bar area.
The restaurant is 1,000 square metres and has space for up to 140 diners on two floors and in four different settings.
Customers will be able to see the rice dishes being cooked on a wood fire before they eat.
Quique Dacosta is widely held to be one of the greatest experts in rice dishes on earth and published a book in 2005, Arroces contemporáneos ('Contemporary rice dishes').
His Dénia restaurant, which used to be called 'El Poblet' after the bar complex it sits next to, but which was renamed 'Restaurante Quique Dacosta' a few years ago, has twice won the Best European Restaurant Award granted by Opinionated About Dining, and has rarely been out of the 'World's 50 Best Restaurants' list – even topping it on one occasion.
He famously featured in an episode of Gordon Ramsay's Costa del Nightmares, a Mediterranean spin-off of his Hell's Kitchen, in which he took the owners of an eatery in Els Poblets – the next town north of Dénia – to Dacosta's premises to learn silver service waiting skills.
Photograph: La Gulateca
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