Taking inspiration from local produce and diverse food cultures, the kitchen at Capri by Fraser, Barcelona / Spain is the culinary playground of Head Chef, Alex Arriaza.
Depending on the time of the year, the hotel-residence’s all-day dining restaurant features different dishes that combine seasonal ingredients with Chef Arriaza’s training in multiple cuisines.
The result is a gastronomic spread that is not just tasty, but also fun and fresh.
The 47-year-old counts among his career highlights working in French-influenced La Dama, a favourite dining room among Barcelona’s bourgeoisie, as well as teaching at one of the best hospitality schools in Spain, Hotel Gran Sol in Sant Pol de Mar.
Having joined Capri by Fraser, Barcelona / Spain even before the hotel-residence opened in 2014, Chef Arriaza is now in charge of all of its F&B: from the buffet breakfast and daily menu at Caprilicious, to the light dinner offers at the Drinx lobby bar, quick bites at the Grab & Go corner and room service.
That’s not all. There’s also coffee breaks and lunches whenever meetings are being held within the hotel.
“Every day is a challenge, but I love my job and enjoy seeing the satisfaction of my guests after each service,” says Chef Arriaza.
Watch our light-hearted video to catch Chef Arriaza in action and read our interview with him below.
What are a few local specialities you would recommend to a first-time visitor to Barcelona?
Although paella did not originate from Barcelona, it is a tradition in Catalonia and other regions in Spain to eat paella every Thursday, so it is very common to see this being offered in restaurants around town every week.
Our guests can try this delicious dish on Thursdays in our all-day dining restaurant, Caprilicious. The star of the dish is the rice, which is cooked in a rich broth infused with saffron. We usually serve it with prawns, mussels and clams.
We also offer other versions of rice plates on other days of the week, along with a variety of traditional Spanish tapas like patatas bravas (spicy potatoes), Iberian ham and cod fritters. Our menu changes daily, so you can expect something different each day!
Which is your favourite dish from your menu?
The paella is one of my favourites, but I am very proud of my Huevos Rotos – scrambled eggs with foie gras over potatoes. While this is a typical Spanish dish, I make mine special with a touch of truffle.
What are some current food trends/techniques that you’re experimenting with?
Gastronomy is a field rich in possibilities and I enjoy experimenting with different techniques, products, textures and flavours.
Lately, I’ve been enjoying slow cooking using low temperatures, which I use for Carrilleras al Oporto con chalotas, slow-cooked braised pork cheeks with port wine and shallots.
I also like to showcase different cultures on some of my plates. That’s why you can sometimes find dishes from various cuisines like Japanese, Thai and Italian at Caprilicious.
Have you encountered any unusual requests from guests?
A guest wanted to bring us an octopus to cook in our kitchen as he was not sure how to prepare it himself. We bought an octopus instead and invited him to our kitchen to show him how to prepare it Galician style (Pulpo a la Gallega).
He was very happy with our offer and really enjoyed his much-desired octopus dish!
Can you share with us a simple local recipe for a simple local dish that guests can try out in their own apartments?
Ingredients (Serves 4):
2 medium-large potatoes
10 eggs (At least 2 eggs per person)
150ml extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste
Peel the potatoes and then carefully cut them into thin slices. Peel and finely slice the onion.
Heat the extra-virgin olive oil on a large frying pan, add the onions and potatoes on top. Avoid stirring till the onions are slightly caramelised, before stewing for another 20-30 minutes until the potatoes soften.
Beat the eggs in a large bowl and add salt to taste. Strain the softened potatoes and onions into this bowl.
Using the same pan, heat the pan on a moderate heat.
Pour the entire egg mixture into the pan. When one side is almost cooked through, invert on a plate and slide the eggs back into the pan and cook for a few more minutes.
Depending on how curdled you like your eggs, you may wish to increase/decrease your cooking time. If you’d like to jazz up your omelette, fresh local produce like jamón or chorizo can be found at La Boqueria Market, a 15-minute drive from Capri by Fraser, Barcelona / Spain.