Dessert maestro Albert Adria opens restaurant in London

Albert Adria opened Cakes And Bubbles in London's Regent Street, his first brick-and-mortar restaurant outside Spain.
Albert Adria opened Cakes And Bubbles in London's Regent Street, his first brick-and-mortar restaurant outside Spain.PHOTO: ST FILE

LONDON • Albert Adria is an unlikely champion of healthy eating.

He is known for fabulous desserts that are rich in looks and content.

They first grabbed attention at elBulli - a record five-time winner of the World's Best Restaurant title - where he worked with his brother Ferran.

And the desserts even have a room in Albert's Barcelona restaurant Tickets, an international destination for food lovers.

Diners move into the La Dolca room for sweet treats.

And now those yummy creations have come to London, after Albert opened his first brick-and-mortar restaurant outside Spain, called Cakes And Bubbles, at Hotel Cafe Royal in Regent Street.

There will be many desserts, but not all of them too fattening or sweet. "I am very conscious about health issues," Albert, 49, said in an interview.

"Okay, there are some traditional recipes where you can't take out the sugar: an ice cream or a cheesecake or a chocolate cake.

"But with the recipes that we are creating, in those recipes, you can have the lowest sugar possible and the lowest fat content too."

Lots of chefs talk about creating something new, but he is a radical chef known for innovation.

He was voted The World's Best Pastry Chef in The World's 50 Best Restaurants awards in 2015 and has stepped out from behind his brother's shadow.

His seven restaurants include the always-sold-out Tickets plus Enigma, which is divided into seven rooms where diners progress from space to space as they make their way through the lengthy tasting menus.

Albert's most famous dish is probably the Tickets Cheesecake.

It is based on Coulommiers cheese (similar to Brie), which it resembles in appearance. But it is a mousse somewhere between Coulommiers and white chocolate, with a flavour and texture closer to cheese than cake.

The restaurant website lists the cheesecake as £12 (S$21).

He is planning to take it off the menu in Barcelona so that diners have to visit London to try it.

And then there is the Robuchon cake, a tribute to well-known French chef Joel Robuchon, who died in August.

It is a crunchy meringue with beetroot and yuzu.

Or how about the Air Pancake (listed as £14), which features yogurt foam piped in with gas?

Classics such as egg flan with dark caramel and housemade doughnuts will be served alongside fruit cakes, including pineapple with palm honey.

Albert prefers to serve a selection of cakes paired with sparkling wines, rather than for guests to just order a slice. 

"It's not going to be a patisserie and it is not going to be a dessert restaurant, but something in between," he said.

"My inspiration is the dessert room I have at Tickets.

"So the guests, when they finish their savoury part, they are moved to another room and they can share three or four desserts and then maybe have one themselves."

Once he gets everything right in London, he is open to the idea of rolling out Cakes And Bubbles across the world.

He is in good company in London.

French chef Pierre Herme has stores in the British capital.

Acclaimed restaurateur Alain Ducasse, who will be opening a restaurant in Singapore next year at the Raffles Hotel,  recently opened a chocolate shop at the new Coal Drops Yard. 

However, Albert's rivals do not have that Tickets Cheesecake.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on November 25, 2018, with the headline 'Dessert maestro Albert Adria opens restaurant in London'. Print Edition | Subscribe