Tastes of the Intercontinental

Camille Allcroft was recently whisked to Madrid to enjoy a very special tasting menu from some of the best chefs in the world

InterContinental Hotels are renowned for their restaurants and they pride themselves on nurturing culinary flair, supporting both established chefs and emerging talent. It was a celebration of their incredible chefs when Tastes of the Intercontinental Life took place recently in Madrid, bringing together chefs from around the globe to create a unique tasting menu with international flavours.

After a champagne reception we took our seats beneath twinkling chandeliers to enjoy a signature dish prepared by each of the chefs, who drew inspiration from a range of influences including their own heritage and the most popular dishes on their menus.

An airy bouille-abaisse milkshake from Cédric Mery of Alcyone Intercontinental Marseille got things underway in stunning style, this delicate reinvention put a modern spin on a classic with clear layers of frothy flavour. We moved on to an exquisite south coast sea bass ceviche with mango and sangrita sorbet by Daniel Quiñones Espinosa of Ella Canta, InterContinental London Park Lane which had wonderfully tangy flavours paired with a spicy kick.

Each of the dishes was explained in detail by the chefs, with an interpreter on hand to translate for the assembled company of international journalists. The next course of chilled rock crab with lemon, caviar, egg yolk and smoked milk tea from Cédric Mery was a sophisticated tribute to Marseille as a harbour city, with a twist of Nordic influences. The tastes of the sea theme continued with an intriguing dish of Ajoblanco malagueño white garlic cream, spawn and veil of shrimp by Miguel de la Fuente of El Jardin InterContinental Madrid which brought the Andalusian delicacy up to date, with white prawn carpaccio and edible flowers. Miguel Laffan of Atlântico InterContinental Estoril created a rich and earthy foie gras recipe served with beetroot purée, salad, raspberries and spices, uniting unexpected sweet and salty tastes to do justice to this cornerstone of French cuisine. The next creation of codfish Lagareiro by Eddy Melo of AKLA InterContinental Lisbon was a reinvention of this classic Portuguese dish, which originates from the Beira region where it was traditionally cooked during the olive oil season at the end of October.

Rabbit with Périgord truffles, cabbage and turnips by Eberhard Lange of the Michelin starred Hugos InterContinental Berlin showcased fresh, seasonal ingredients to complement the tender Alsace rabbit. Representing Theo Randall at the InterContinental London Park Lane, senior sous chef Luis Rendon Rodriguez cooked up a dish which never leaves their menu – the legendary cappelletti di Vitello inspired by trips to Bologna the home of fresh pasta, the porcini sauce added decadence to the veal and egg yolk pasta and people dine at Theo Randall over and over to enjoy this dish.

A raspberry vacherin was the perfect dessert to round off this culinary extravaganza, envisioned by Sophie De Bernardi, pastry chef at InterContinental Paris Le Grand. The popular French dessert provided a burst of sweetness with tangy raspberry sorbet and raspberry whipped cream.

To complete the tasting menu, we were treated to a preview of the key culinary trends for 2019. Some of the hotly tipped items set to appear on plates next year include foraging finds, seaweed, Kasha, olive oil, naturally healing ingredients (notably Amaranth, Chia, Cacao and Chili), chickpeas, seasonal vegetables and supersonic superfoods (think Flax, Acai or Spirulina).

Getting There
The central location makes InterContinental Madrid the ideal base from which to explore the city and don’t miss fine dining at the El Jardin restaurant, while Bar 49 makes the perfect setting for cocktails and a lavish brunch is available every Sunday. Rooms from 288EUR per room, per night.

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