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Hoja Santa Mexican Gourmet: Albert Adria and Paco Mendez

Sitting in a beautiful setting enjoying eating a piece of art is one of my favourite past times. I love getting dressed up and tasting new exciting dishes. The excitement to learn that a gourmet Michelin Mexican restaurant was so near was amazing!

The restaurant is one of Albert Adria creations in collaboration with head chef Paco Mendez.

I was dying to eat there and meet the chefs at Hoja Santa. You can imagine how thrilled I was to get a table and be able to eat their amazing food and talk with the Sous Chef Paco Medina ( Jose Francisco Medina).

Hola Santa opened in 2014 and received its first star in 2015. Their goal was to have a gourmet Mexican restaurant which had combined the avantgared with Mexican flavours. This restaurant has received recognition in the Michelin book, received awards in the Mexican embassy in Spain, and made recognition in the Mexican gastronomy in Mexico. It all started with the love of Mexican food from Albert Adria and the expertise of Paco Mendez.

This was an extraordinary gastronomic experience. The decor was beautifully put together without it being too colourful and overly done. The detail in the small things was what made the room beautiful warm and welcoming.

I shared this magical fine dinning experience with my bestie Lena Sayed. We started our meal with a mezcal tasting menu of 6 different Mezcales.  Every Mezcal had its own taste and levels of flavours. The Mezcal was served with orange slices and maguey ( worm) salt. The waiter used a beautiful analogy explaineding how the Mezcal is like kissing as a way of drinking it. How the first kiss is the longest which meant we should keep the first variety in our mouths for 15 secs. How kissing makes us warm inside and thats what the mezcal was going to do.

Photo: aquicomi

We decide to go for the a la carte menu and choose a variety of dishes. Every dish was different and had its own design and taste. I loved how the flavours of Mexico were so dominate in each dish. The beautiful plates were garnished with fresh Mexican herbs such as Hoja Santa and epazote. Every dish had its own theme and stood amazingly on its own.

The restaurants welcoming dishes were a delicious start to an amazing meal. The pickled vegetables were covered in chicatana ants powder.

Photo: aquicomi

Hibiscus tequila refeshener and a mini tostada with crunchy baby shrimp.

Photo: aquicomi

Cactus brotes Baby nopales <3 A true staple of Mexico

Photo: aquicomi

I love drinking beer with Mexican food! We paired the food with the resturants own beer. It was light and refreshing. My favourite colour too 😉

Photo: aquicomi

Us Mexicans have a special obsession with beans. I am truly a frijolera ( loves beans) The bean broth made me stop in time. As I sipped it and closed my eyes I could see my grandmother stirring the beans in the pot while my grandfather played ranchera music in the background. Wow!

Photo: aquicomi

This noodles version was a twist to Mexican homestyle fideo with a mushroom and 3 Chile sauce. The black truffle quesadilla was a delicate mouthful.

photo: aquicomi

My absolutely favourite dish of the evening! Sea cucumber with the best Chile de ancho sauce I have ever tasted!!!! And look at these chicharron pieces made from the sea. You wouldn’t believe that they weren’t made out of bacon 😉 The sauce was both spicy and savoury. I was so tempted to lick the bowl…instead I used my finger and wiped the rest of the sauce into my mouth. The texture was lovely like a fresh pasta and the sauce had so many levels of flavour. I was brought back to Mexico….

Photo: aquicomi

Mexicos ultimate pride! Tacos and mole. The best way to end the savoury dishes. The perfect ending to the savoury dishes was the mole! This mole consist of 70 different ingredients. Mole is the true national pride of Mexico. This was just a spectacular way to end the experience. Its complex flavours with the pan crusted avocado were a fabulous pair. A dish I will defiantly never forget.

Photo: aquicomi

Then we received a few last gifts from the kitchen…..

I am not a sweet girl but these truly were a delightful ending for our pallets. A kiss from Yucatan with the coconut sorbet and the pineapple tepache.

Photo: aquicomi

This 3 hour dinner was amazing. The staff around us made us feel cared for and the service was top notch.

I had the pleasure of getting to sit down and talk with the sous chef Paco Medina. This young man is a talented chef who has risen the culinary latter in just a matter of a few years. He did his practices at Ticket and was invited my Paco Mendez to work in Hoja Santa.  He started as a line chef and is now the sous chef. He runs the kitchen while head chef Paco Mendez is away. I watched him command the kitchen in a calm and precise manor. He pays grave attention to detail and only lets the best on the plate reach the costumer. I admire your technique and confidence. We wish you the best on your culinary journey Chef Paco Medina!

Chef Sylvia Vavik and Chef Paco Medina. We discussed his career the the future of Mexican gastronomy in Barcelona.

Photo: Lena Sayed

Thank you so much for arranging this Silvia Fdez, Diego Braga, and to the sous chef Paco Medina. I look forward to meeting Paco Mendez the next time we both are in Barcelona. Viva Hoja Santa!

Thank you Hoja Santa Team!