The sharing restaurant

A report on the size of dishes: interview with Catalan Oriol Castro, chef at Compartir

09-05-2016
Salted cod cakes with honey at restaurant Comparti

Salted cod cakes with honey at restaurant Compartir. It was opened in April 2012 in Cadaqués in Cataluña by Oriol Castro, Eduard Xatruch and Mateu Casañas. The restaurant’s concept is anticipated by the name itself: all dishes are to be shared. The success was so big, in 2014 the 3 guys also opened Disfrutar in Barcelona, "avantgarde with strong Mediterranean roots" (photo Francesc Guillamet)

Does size matter in a restaurant? We’ve been discussing this for a few weeks now with a report on dish sizes. We started with Marco Stabile’s report, the first chef to introduce in Italy, in December 2005, a tapa menu and Matteo Fronduti, a pioneer in Milan. Two different ways of interpreting half portions. Today we interview Oriol Castro, Catalan chef from Compartir in Cadaqués in Cataluña, an interesting format as it is entirely focused on sharing dishes. An innovative trick which in a way is as old as times.

What do you remember and what did you learn of the sharing concept at elBulli?
At elBulli we offered a tasting menu and the snacks were the only dishes that the customers shared on the table. But I learnt a lot… The spirit… And we try to transmit this at Compartir… The premises, the rapport with clients and the food, served in an informal and relaxed setting, all work together to transmit our philosophy to visitors, characterised by the search for clients’ greatest satisfaction in all aspects.

Can you explain the sharing formula at Compartir restaurant?
At Compartir (To share in English), as its name indicates, the cuisine is presented on central dishes for sharing. This transforms the concept of “appetisers” and takes it one step further, as well as creating a surprising and uninhibited ambience among the diners. The menu offers markedly modern dishes and also more traditional suggestions, such as rice dishes.

Before opening Disfrutar and Compartir, Oriol Castro (on the left, with his partners Casañas, centre, and Xatruch, right) worked for 15 at Ferran and Albert Adrià’s elBulli, from 1996 till the restaurant closed in 2011

Before opening Disfrutar and Compartir, Oriol Castro (on the left, with his partners Casañas, centreand Xatruch, right) worked for 15 at Ferran and Albert Adrià’s elBulli, from 1996 till the restaurant closed in 2011

Sharing food is part of the Catalan culinary passion.
It belongs to different parts of the world, I think. I learnt it since I was a child. A lot of Catalan families, for example, prepare rice for lunch and they put the paella in the middle of the table for sharing… And this spirit is what we want to give to our clients. We transmit this traditional concept with modern cuisine.


Do you only serve dishes to be served or “normal” plates too?
We serve “normal” plates. For example, we offer egg with potato cream and black truffle as a “normal” plate or the oysters are single dishes too, but we can present the different oysters on a tray.

How many people does a single dish serve?
Usually we think the dishes for two persons (or for even tables), but if we have a single customer we adapt the offer or if there is a group of three/five/seven… we do it too.

Compartir, Riera Sant Vicenç s/n, Cadaqués, Cataluña, Spain, tel. +34.972.258482 (photo Francesc Guillamet)
 

Compartir, Riera Sant Vicenç s/n, Cadaqués, Cataluña, Spain, tel. +34.972.258482 (photo Francesc Guillamet)
 

What’s your most successful dish?
It’s difficult to choose the most successful dish… Maybe the beetroot and fruit salad with Ajoblanco sorbet or the Salmon and green asparagus “Shabu shabu”.

Are you working on a third project aside from Compartir and Disfrutar?
Currently Eduard, Mateu and I are working in our restaurants (Compartir and Disfrutar). We want to consolidate them and nowadays they are our projects.


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