I’ve only been to Spain once and it was a couple of years ago on a work related trip. There are two things I still remember from my trip, the fantastic food and the unbelievably amazing Sangrias. Luckily for us both will be available really soon in Kuwait… and yes, even the Sangrias.
The new place that’s opening up is called Bubó. Bubó is a popular pastry store in Barcelona created by Catalan Pastry Chef Carles Mampel and he’s opening his first location outside Spain here in Kuwait. Carles is an award winning pastry chef with a number of achievements including “Best Master Pastry Chef in Spain in 1999″ and winning the prize for the world´s best chocolate cake in 2005. In 2008 he was also incorporated into Relais Dessert. I had no idea what that was until today. It turns out Relais Dessert is like the Michelin Star of pastry chefs and it’s very difficult to earn and keep since they limit it to just 80 members around the world at any given time. In the Arab world for example there is only one Relais Dessert chef and it’s Lionel Pelle of Pâtisserie Cannelle in Beirut. In England there is only one and in the whole of the US there is also just one Relais Dessert chef. So Bubó will be the second store in the Arab world with a Relais Dessert so that’s pretty cool for us.
In addition to pastries the local Bubó will also serve over 20 different kind of tapas. Tapas are very popular in Spain and they’re basically appetizers, kinda like the Lebanese mezza. As I mentioned earlier they’re also going to have Sangarias… virgin Sangarias without any alcohol which should be interesting.
I sat with the local GM of Bubó as well as Carles Mampel and they really sold me on the whole concept which is why I can’t wait until they open next month. Carles explained to me how they have three important things they focus on with their food, health, quality of the food and presentation. Their food isn’t healthy as in diet kind of healthy but their food is healthy because it’s all made with natural ingredients. They do everything in house be it their mustard or the roasting of the hazelnuts. Carles is a control freak and the only way he can control the quality of his food is if he controls the ingredients as well.
The restaurant is located in Al-Ghunaim Tower in Kuwait City. It’s right opposite the parking entrance of Souk Al Watiya which is located behind Sheraton. When you first walk in the area on the right is similar to a casual lounge. It’s in case you just want to meet up with some friends, have coffee and dessert and just chill out. The middle section is made up of tables and chairs for dining be it lunch or dinner. Finally on the far left is where all the pastries will be displayed in jewelry like displays. The place looks pretty cool with a partly black angular ceiling which I think adds the most to the place design wise.
After sitting with Carles and understanding how he thinks and how he dissects ingredients and puts them together, I’ve realized to him the dishes are like an art and science. For example the Relais Dessert group of pastry chefs get together every year and they share new techniques they’ve each created. Carles for example created something called the Balsamic Caviar Vinegar. You can watch a video of how it’s made [Here]. It’s a different and more creative way of adding balsamic to dishes. They always have to innovate and set a certain bar or else they’re out of the Relais Dessert and someone else takes their place. I’ve heard a lot about how stressful a Michelin star is to a chef so I can only imagine how much stress these Relais Dessert members are under since theres only a limited amount of spots.
Price wise they’re still finalizing things but I was told they’ll be competitively priced. They gave me some price examples which I’m not sure I can share but lunch for example with friends would cost less than if you went out for sushi. The reason I’m using sushi as an example is because it’s the only other cuisine I can think of right now where you sit down and order a variety of dishes to share. Actually the Lebanese mezza is another one so their tapas will be priced somewhere between mezza and sushi dishes.
Left to right: Najla Yassin the GM, Jesus Arcas the executive chef and Carles Mampel
They’ve started tastings a few days ago and this is going to go on for another week or so until Carles thinks everything is up to par. I’m most likely going to pass by next week with Nat to try it out but will post another update later on once they officially open up. Should turn out to be pretty cool.