Salvador Dalí returns to Madrid from 27 April, with full honours. That day, the Reina Sofía Museum opens its major retrospective of the artist. Coinciding with this very comprehensive exhibition, the city is preparing to pay tribute to him. The Hotel Palace was one of his favourite places in the city, which is why those in charge of this iconic establishment have decided to pay tribute to him with a Dalí menu, prepared by four young chefs from the Empordà region. Anyone who tries it will have a variety of experiences, but always with a smile.
The menu, named “From Impressionism to gastronomic surrealism”, brings Dalí’s culinary tastes to the plate. The result is a journey through the typical produce of the Empordà region, fabulous ingredients that Dalí enjoyed throughout his life. Very simple products, but prepared in different ways to enjoy their colours and textures in surprising combinations.
Right from the start we realise where we are. The names of the dishes evoke Dalí and the art world in general. These are the starters: Still life, a true delicacy that was eaten by the fishermen of the Empordà region and that is nothing more than fried backbone of anchovy, showing that sometimes the simplest things are also the most succulent. Next we have Oven dish eggs (without the dish), served in their own shell on bread. The chefs surprised all of those eating with the appearance of the Miniature of pork, a simple individual-sized mini Catalan salami. And to finish this part of the menu, accompanied by images to remind us of the artist, Soft self portrait with fried bacon, a cream of bacon with mustard flowers.
But do not expect an extravagant, extremely avant-garde and incomprehensible menu. The menu offered to us by Quin Casellas (of the Casamar Hotel’s one Michelin star restaurant, in Llanfranc), Marc Gascons (Els Tinars one Michelin star restaurant, in Llagostera), Vicenç Fajardo (the La Plaça Hotel restaurant, in Madremanya) and Jordi Garrido (the Mas de Torrent Hotel restaurant, in Torrent) is one of pure flavours, only slightly altered, allowing us to taste, and discover the flavours, of the produce loved by the genius from Figueras and that was served at the table in his house in Port Lligat, Cadaqués.
If The Persistence of Memory lets us taste a renewed example of the myth of the Sea and the Mountain, the Impressionist movement is present in the next dish: The First Days of Spring, a sea bass on a green background prepared with the peas and artichokes so typical of this season. Sun and colour continue to be present in the Portrait of Gala, where the fun is seeing if you can resist the temptation to eat the composition until you’ve found all the features of the artist’s Muse. This is possibly the most varied dish, with dozens of vegetables providing up to 40 different textures.
Surrealism arrives with the desserts. The Sublime Moment leaves you baffled when you are offered a fried egg with a surprise. Coffee is served with The Accommodation of Wishes with cameras flashing left and right with the appearance of Dalí moustach popsicles and Mae West lips, which Dalí immortalised in the form of a sofa.
The menu will be available at the Westin Palace Hotel from 23 April, only at dinner time, priced at 55 euros. If you also want to include the recommended wines (a red, Castell de Peralada, and a white, Oliver Conti, both from the Empordá region, and a rosé cava, Castell de Peralada, which was drunk by Dalí himself) add 15 euros to the price. The experience is worth it. Maybe when you have finished the menu and get to the stairs to leave the hotel you will imagine Dalí coming into the lobby wearing his ocelot coat, an image that some of the longest serving hotel staff can still remember. But that will just be an illusion. Today, the real Dalí is to be found inhabiting the different rooms of the Reina Sofía Museum, in an exhibition that nobody should miss.