Sharing plates on the Costa Brava
TEXT: ESME FOX | PHOTOS © FRANCESC GUILLAMET
Meet the former El Bulli chefs blazing a culinary trail by the sea in Cadaqués. As home to the Roca brothers’ El Celler de Can Roca and Jordi Cruz’s Àbac, amongst many other eateries, Catalonia has become a hotbed for top cuisine.
Following hot on the trail is Compartir, located in the whitewashed Costa Brava coastal village of Cadaqués, just a couple of hours’ journey north of Barcelona, famous for its connections with surrealist maestro Salvador Dali.
Compartir is the brainchild of chefs Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro and Eduard Xatruch, who met while working in the kitchens of former World’s Best Restaurant – El Bulli. The trio opened their restaurant in 2012, to combine their talents and create their own menus.
The concept behind the restaurant is based on sharing several dishes – ‘compartir’ means ‘to share’ in Spanish: “Just as Spanish families do at home,” explains Casañas.
Since its opening, Compartir has developed a reputation as one of the best restaurants in the region. In fact, so successful has it been, that Mateu, Oriol and Eduard have also subsequently opened the Michelin-starred Disfrutar restaurant in Barcelona.
The menu at Compartir focuses on exquisitely-presented dishes which still give the nod to the region’s culinary traditions, such as tuna cannelloni with olives and capers; anchovies with fresh almond cheese, truffle oil, honey and pine nuts; or poached egg with carbonara sauce.
“The inspiration for our dishes comes from the wild Costa Brava region itself, and focuses on the concept of ‘mar y montaña’ (sea and mountain) featuring lots of fresh seafood, as well as farm produce, meats and rice dishes,” says Casañas.
However, far from the sometimes stiff and formal experience found in some fine dining establishments, Mateu, Oriol and Eduard have created an atmosphere that is elegant but relaxed and informal enough to be family-friendly. As they say, “We want to make diners’ experiences informal, dynamic and fun”.