Celebrated Spanish chef Albert Adrià will launch his first London restaurant, Cake & Bubbles, at the Hotel Café Royal later this year. Adrià is most famous for his wildly popular tapas restaurant Tickets in Barcelona, and is the brother of Ferran Adrià, of elBulli fame. As the name suggests, Cake & Bubbles will serve decadent desserts alongside glasses of Champagne. Ahead of the opening, we caught up with him to find out what we can expect.
Why did you choose London as the location for Cake & Bubbles?
The answer is easy: I wanted to open here because London is the capital of the world. The reason I chose Hotel Café Royal is because we did a pop up here a few years ago [Adrià’s 50 Days ran at the hotel in 2016], so I have a real fondness for the team.
What are the advantages of a partnership with Hotel Café Royal?
A concept like Cake & Bubbles needs a setting that will fit naturally with it. Hotel Café Royal is perfect because it is the ultimate mix of modernity and tradition. That mixture is also the base of all my work, and the main thrust behind Cake & Bubbles.
What can we expect the interiors to look like?
I’m conscious of the importance of the architecture we have in the space and I want to preserve that. The main change will be the display of Champagnes running across the wall. The colour of the room will be gold, which is perfect for Champagne.
Do you have a favourite dessert on the menu?
I don’t want to focus on just one item, but I do think the cheesecake will be a big hit. My main work is to create the concept as a whole, where it’s not about just one thing, but several elements working together. The thing that makes us different is that we will be offering desserts that you won’t be able to find anywhere else in London, which is really exciting.
Tell us a bit about the Champagnes that will be available
We’ll have the grand marques, but we’ll also offer Champagne from grower producers. I want the drinks to be accessible. We can’t forget that we’re in a five-star hotel, but I don’t want to charge people £50 for a slice of cake and a glass of Champagne.
One of Adrià's famous cheesecakes
What would be your death-row meal?
It would have to be a pizza with mozzarella di bufala and a lot of caviar on top.
How do you feel about diners taking pictures of their food?
This is a reality that we have to live with. I think in general, however, we give ‘likes’ and follower numbers too much importance, and it’s become about quantity rather than quality. Sometimes, Instagrammers are so busy taking pictures that the food is cold by the time it’s eaten.
Do you have a favourite restaurant in London?
I have so many friends in London who own restaurants and I’ve been very lucky enough to try most of them. If I had to choose one, though, it would be St John. I have beautiful memories of it from when I used to come to London in years gone by.
What’s the best dish you’ve ever tasted in London?
I love A.Wong in Pimlico and the xiao long bao there is the best I’ve ever tried. I’ve been to China three times and never had a xiao long bao like it. I’d recommend everyone should eat one of these before they die.
Would you ever launch a Tickets sequel in London?
I can’t think of anything like that at the moment, as I’m one hundred percent focused on Cake & Bubbles, which will be a huge project. I’m also opening a restaurant in New York next year, so I’m very busy at the moment, but you never know.
Cakes & Bubbles opens at Hotel Café Royal in November 2018.