Guggenheim Bilbao

Guggenheim Bilbao
Quique Dacosta Restaurante
Chef: Quique Dacosta
Country: España
City: 03700 Dénia
Address: Las Marinas, km. 3

The oyster never imagined it would end up being architecture, much less architecture so extravagant that it would be inspired by Frank Gehry’s museum in Bilbao. The sensible thing would have been to craft a rocky dish that echoed harmonies of the shell, but no, this dish takes on a galactic form and color. Galactic shellfish? Yes, and therein lies the madness: to take something so primitive, so basic, so wild, and give it a look from outer space. How? With titanium. Since when is titanium edible, you might ask? Apparently since now, because the only people dying at El Poblet are the ones that are keeling over from sheer pleasure, and it would seem that in that category there are many… Some swear it’s addictive. Others say it’s an aphrodisiac. What no one argues about is that we find ourselves before a most rare mating of elements. From what ancient recipe book did Quique Dacosta rob this idea? Is it true about the titanium or is it simply a strategy on the chef’s part to demonstrate how far he’s capable of going? True or not, it’s silver and titanium alloy, it shows all the signs, and that in itself is worthy of much merit.
However, if titanium and silver is the oyster, the oyster is also the oyster: warm, meaty, bursting with juices, drowning palates. What preparation does it undergo? It is simply warmed on the grill with a seasoning of juniper, and later dressed with four small cubes of lemon peel. It is placed over a gel made with the oyster itself, along with cockles, vegetables, and water, then gelatinized with aloe vera and lastly, to give it some color, the silver/titanium alloy is applied: a delicious gel that envelops the mollusk. This monumental construction is then crowned with a dried, crunchy version of that same gel that takes on the form of the Guggenheim museum.

The Recipe

Cockle and oyster stock

  • 2 kg cockles
  • Carcasses of 1 kg of barnacles
  • 120 g shallots, halved
  • 16 oysters
  • 2 cloves of garlic, whole and unpeeled
  • 5 liters mineral water
  • 120 g aloe vera, raw, scalded three times


With the raw ingredients well cleaned, cover in water and cook – bringing to just before a boil -, remove the foam often and cook on low heat for one hour without letting it boil. Let stand for 2 hours more before straining. 2 liters of stock should remain.


For the base

  • 250 g oyster stock
  • 1 g agar
  • 5 drops lemon juice
  • 0.8 g silver powder
  • 10 g liquid aloe vera (El Poblet base)


Raise the boiling of the oyster stock with the agar, separate the aloe, and at 40°C, add the silver and lemon juice.
Place 12 g of gelled silver consommé at the base of the plate.


For the silver and titanium veil

  • 550 g oyster stock
  • 3.5 g agar
  • 2 gelatin leaves
  • 25 g liguid aloe vera (El Poblet base)
  • 2 g silver powder
  • 0.8 g liquid titanium


Bring the stock to a boil with the gel components.
Once off the flame, and when it has cooled to 40°C, add the metals in their powder and liquid forms.
Let cool on flat trays that allow for a height of the stock to be 1 mm. When cool, it will gelatinize and can be worked by hand, warming it in the salamander. Covering the bottom of the oyster it gives it an unbelievable smoothness – the metals and the aloe in this state are elements previously unknown in cuisine.


For the silver aloe vera paper

  • 1 liter of oyster and aloe stock
  • 170 g tapioca
  • 5 g silver powder
  • 170 g fresh aloe vera, scalded three times


Add the tapioca to the stock once it is boiling, sprinkling it in a “rainy” fashion.
Cook for 15 minutes. Strain and grind, using a rod. Add the powdered silver.
Spread the dough on a sulphurized sheet and dry it in the oven at 60°C until the water (stock) evaporates and leaves an extremely fine, brittle paper - fragile - which melts in the mouth yet has all the same flavor as the bases.
Together with the other veil it takes the flavorful reins of the dish, as well as the inspiration of such an impressive museum.