Food & Wine

Ovnew: a GALACTIC food experience

Chefs Giraldo and Lieberman, from Spoonik, open a new restaurant devoted to sensory dining in the glass dome of the Hesperia Tower hotel in Hospitalet de Llobregat

Young chefs Jon Giraldo and Jaime Lieberman are the owners of the restaurant, Spoonik — a combination of ‘spoon’ and ’sputnik’. A few years ago, when they started serving the original clandestine dinners that made them famous, they organised a private Halloween party inspired by a galaxy theme, anticipating their new project that has now come to fruition.

Ovnew is the name of the new restaurant that these two lovers of sensory dining experiences have just inaugurated in the venue known popularly as a UFO in Barcelona – the glass dome that crowns the Hesperia Tower hotel in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, thus turning it into the highest restaurant in Catalonia. In fact, the dome used to host late chef Santi Santamaria’s Evo restaurant, although the Catalan cuisine based on local products once served there is completely different from the style of food the new hosts offer.

The Columbian and the Mexican chefs aim to take their costumers on a journey – not to Mars or the Moon – but through cuisine inspired by Earth’s five continents and made and served with lots of imagination.

Dining at Ovnew is meant to be an experience in itself, with a route that starts in the kitchen, goes through different bars and counters, and ends with diners sitting down at a table to enjoy dishes as original as the show taking place in front of them, which involves performing actors and singers directed by Fouad Bousnani (who accompanied Lady Gaga in her Bad Romance tour).

The aim is to let yourself go and allow all your senses to enjoy a synaesthetic blend of sensations, which means listening to colour or savouring music. And part of that experience is finding yourself served with dishes in which you have to guess which part is Kiki and which one is Bouba. It is a mystery that generates delight and expectation. An important part of the experience is the surrounding sound (accomplished with a an expensive high-tech system made in Catalonia), as well as the shifting lighting.

The two chefs say they have always been in love with the gorgeous dome, which provides 360º views between Montjuïc and the airport. Created by Richard Rogers, it is entirely made of glass, through which the intense Mediterranean sun mercilessly strikes those inside. Yet, Ovnew plans to avoid this shortcoming by offering two meals, but only by night. The first sitting for an international audience, and the second for Mediterranean or Latino customers, who are more used to eating at late hours. The set menu costs 160 euros, while the wine matching costs between 65 and 250 euros. There is also the option of alcohol-free cocktails for 45 euros.

Admirers of famous restaurants such as the Celler de Can Roca, The Fat Duck and Le Val-Vert, Giraldo and Lieberman became interested in gastronomy (they trained at the Mey Hofmann school) after studying law and photography, respectively. They became popular with their clandestine dinners served at Spoonik. They also run Anormal, which offer Latino street food, and will soon open another venue. Both chefs are open to all kinds of surprising experiences, such as cooking for blindfolded guests, as they did last November in a small palace in Barcelona.

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