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‘Great Chefs, Great Causes’ @ Ibérica, Spinningfields, Manchester

‘Great Chefs, Great Causes’ @ Ibérica, Spinningfields, Manchester

It’s not everyday you get the chance to eat dishes from several of the world’s best chefs in the same place at the same time. But a few weeks ago I did exactly that after being invited to the press launch of ‘Great Chefs, Great Causes’ at Ibérica in Spinningfields.

Of course, Albert Adrià and Joan Roca of El Celler de Can Roca didn’t rock up in Manchester to cook for us personally. But along with 12 other chefs from the World’s 50 Best Restaurants they each provided a signature recipe which will be available on a rotating basis from Ibérica until 6th September, with profits shared amongst the chef’s chosen charities.

Inside Iberica Matador Bull

After a couple of drinks at the bar we were seated upstairs and the first dish soon arrived.

‘Oysters with cucumber & lychee’ is an usual combination but one that really works.

Helena Rizzo & Daniel Redondo, MANI, Brazil | Oysters with cucumber & lychee

Helena Rizzo & Daniel Redondo, MANI, Brazil | Oysters with cucumber & lychee

Followed by ‘Razor clam, yellow pepper & black quinoa’.

The often chewy clams were perfectly tender while the crunchy black quinoa was a lovely contrast in texture. The zingy and smooth avocado puree finished the dish off beautifully.

Virgilio Martinez, Central, Peru | Razor clam, yellow pepper & black quinoa

Virgilio Martinez, Central, Peru | Razor clam, yellow pepper & black quinoa

One of my favourite dishes was ‘Foie Cuba libre with lemon frost’.

A jar of delicate fois gras mousse topped with lightly flavoured lemon ice. Despite being against the way it’s produced I’m a reluctant fan of fois gras so absolutely loved this dish. The general consensus around the table was that even those who weren’t usually keen enjoyed it.

Quique Dacosta, Quique Dacosta Restaurant, Spain | Foie Cuba libre with lemon frost

Quique Dacosta, Quique Dacosta Restaurant, Spain | Foie Cuba libre with lemon frost

A couple of canapé sized dishes followed: ‘Avocado toast with bone marrow salsa & cucumber’ and ‘Beef tartare with vinaigrette & anchovies’ were both excellent small bites of interesting flavours and textures.

Enrique Olvera, Pujol (México) | Avocado toast with bone marrow salsa & cucumber

Enrique Olvera, Pujol, Mexico | Avocado toast with bone marrow salsa & cucumber

Dieter Koschina, Vila Joya, Portugal | Beef tartare with vinaigrette & anchovies

Dieter Koschina, Vila Joya, Portugal | Beef tartare with vinaigrette & anchovies

Another highlight was ‘Mango, beer & black pudding’, tiny parcels of thin mango flesh filled with earthy, rich black pudding.

Juan Mari Arzak, Arzak, Spain | Mango, beer & black pudding

Juan Mari Arzak, Arzak, Spain | Mango, beer & black pudding

Then ‘Squid parmentier with smoked paprika & squid stock’ from Joan Roca at El Celler de Can Roca, currently the Worlds #1 restaurant.

The depth of flavour in the broth was unreal.

Joan Roca, El Celler de Can Roca, Spain | Squid parmentier with red smoked Spanish paprika & squid stock

Joan Roca, El Celler de Can Roca, Spain | Squid parmentier with smoked paprika & squid stock

One of the most interesting dishes was ‘Fresh chorizo tartare’, something I’d never even heard of before but very much hope I come across again.

Bittor Arguinzoniz, Asador Etxebarri, Spain | Fresh chorizo tartare

Bittor Arguinzoniz, Asador Etxebarri, Spain | Fresh chorizo tartare

Andoni Luis Aduriz, Mugaritz, Spain | Rustic bread with fresh pancetta and spring herbs

Andoni Luis Aduriz, Mugaritz, Spain | Rustic bread with fresh pancetta and spring herbs

To finish; ‘Watermelon infused in sangria’ from Albert Adria was equally boozy and refreshing at the same time.

Albert Adria, Tickets, Spain | Watermelon infused in sangria

Albert Adria, Tickets, Spain | Watermelon infused in sangria

But there was more!

We were then served a selection of dishes from Ibérica’s new summer menu.

Starting with ‘Salmorejo’, a stunning thick gazpacho.

Salmorejo (thick gazpacho) with green apple & basil granita & sun blushed tomato.

Salmorejo (thick gazpacho) with green apple & basil granita & sun blushed tomato

There were a couple of excellent fish dishes.

Fresh mackerel with orange & saffron escabeche

Fresh mackerel with orange & saffron escabeche

Fresh hake with hollandaise sauce & lettuce water

Fresh hake with hollandaise sauce & lettuce water

And a fantastic pork & aubergine dish. I don’t remember ever eating a better piece of pork.

Grilled Iberico pork "pluma" in moruno marinade & aubergine

Grilled Iberico pork “pluma” in moruno marinade & aubergine

The only dish of the evening I wasn’t totally sold on was the ‘Tomato salad with orange zest & vanilla oil’.

While the combination of tomato and vanilla does technically work it just wasn’t for me.

Two texture tomato salad with orange zest & vanilla oil.

Two texture tomato salad with orange zest & vanilla oil

We finished with two desserts.

The first saw a perfect quenelle of shiny chocolate mousse accompanied by various fancy elements including herbs cress, red fruit salad, yoghurt, vanilla oil & cider gel.

It all tasted great but I couldn’t help thinking it’s a bit over the top for what is essentially just a good chocolate mousse.

Chocolate mousse with herbs cress & red fruit salad, yoghurt, vanilla oil & cider gel

Chocolate mousse with herbs cress & red fruit salad, yoghurt, vanilla oil & cider gel

Chocolate mousse with herbs cress & red fruit salad, yoghurt, vanilla oil & cider gel

The second dessert though blew me away, defintiely the best dessert I’ve eaten so far this year.

The combination of soft egg custard flan with cinnamon, lemon flavoured foam and salted caramel ice cream was unbelievably good.

"Tocinillo de cielo" Egg yolk custard flan with cinnamon & lemon zest milk foam & salted caramel ice cream

“Tocinillo de cielo” Egg custard flan with cinnamon, lemon zest milk foam & salted caramel ice cream

I wouldn’t have attended the event if I didn’t except to like the food but I wasn’t quite prepared for how good it turned out to be.

It’s one thing being given recipes from some of the best chefs in the world – many of them holding Michelin stars – but it’s quite another being able to produce them to the same standard. But they definitely pulled it off. It was great to find that their own dishes are of an equally high standard too.

The ‘Great Chefs, Great Causes’ dishes are available until 6th September. The Ibérica summer menu dishes are presumably available until the end of summer, but we’re in Manchester so who knows how long that may be?

Date of visit: 28.07.2015

Disclaimer: This was an invite only preview event. 

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