Savory Spanish Feast: Tapas, Hamon, Gazpacho and More at Adrian Quetglas China

By Vanessa Jencks, December 1, 2021

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Some people might think that being a food blogger is the easiest job in the world, and I have to admit that there are a lot of perks. But sometimes when covering a really fabulous restaurant, I want to just stop and enjoy the moment. I want to soak in all of the goodness that that restaurant has to offer and not have to work. This article is about that type of restaurant, specifically Adrian Quetglas China.

As I was eating, I was doing really well to write down all of my comments and take pictures of everything.  But then, about halfway into the night with such great company, a bit of wine, my family there, the joyousness of the occasion and the deliciousness of the food, I simply failed to be the best Hainan food blogger. I actually forgot to take pictures of the beautiful Tomahawk steak. I also completely forgot to take any videos, as I had been taking videos throughout the stay in Ocean Flower Island and plan to release it next week.

So to my readers, and to the restaurant, I want to apologize. But from that point of view, I just want to urge you that you must go to Adrian Quetglas while you're living in Hainan or visiting the island. If you don’t go, you are missing out on an incredible atmosphere and gastronomical experience.

And to be real, when is the next time you’ll be able to experience a Michelin-starred chef’s menu while in China? And not just any Michelin-starred food, but a foundationally Spanish (Mallorcan) international experience inspired by Quetglas’ lived connections through Mallorca, London, Paris and Moscow. This food will take you on a journey beyond impenetrable borders.

Adrian Quetglas is for people who really love food – rich food presented in a visually delicious way accompanied by masterful wine pairings and excellent decor.

This was my first time to experience Spanish food, so though I am ignorant and unable to test its authenticity, I did notice both the owners and the manager critiquing or confirming the quality of the food through sideways glances to one another as they dined with us. That is only characteristic of restaurateurs who are passionate about the food they serve to their guests and expect excellency every single time forks and plates are set on their tables.

About the People of Adrian Quetglas

I first got connected with Carlo, the manager of the restaurant, as a personal friend to a colleague. We kept missing each other to meet up in Sanya, until eventually he offered to bring my family out to the Ocean Flower Island so we could experience the whole resort and the restaurant.

202112/adrian-quetglas-china.jpegImage courtesy of Adrian Quetglas China

So, I do have to be honest that I've experienced this restaurant for free, and so what I'm going to say is slightly biased without the pressure of footing the bill. At the same time, I want to go back and pay for it myself. I would love to go back to Ocean Flower just for the fact of being able to go down the food streets, getting to try all of the food offered there and I consider Adrian Quetglas to be the crown of that food experience.

I was only able to spend a weekend at Ocean Flower Island, and that whole experience will be released soon, but Carlo is an absolute pleasure to be around. If you went to the restaurant while he's in town, and he's going to make sure that you have a great experience at Adrian Quetglas. While there, he picked up on little details for our family, like the bartender serving our children a mocktail drink that wasn’t on the menu. My children also ate the uncooked grains used to present the croquettes, and so now they are changing the presentation as well.

While there, my family also got to meet the lovely owners of the restaurant, Dmitry (Russia) and his partner Anna (Russia).

While we were eating together, my children were super rambunctious as it was the end of a long day touring the resort. My children were not behaving in socially acceptable ways at all times through the night, but both Anna and Dmitry were very gracious towards my children and even pointing my children to the reasonable expectations I had set for their behavior.

Everyone from the bartender to the staff, the manager to the owners, all were true food and beverage entertainers, hospitable and accommodating.

About the Location of Adrian Quetglas

The beautiful two-story restaurant is located in an international food street section of the Ocean Flower Island, which includes multiple themes and a whole host of Chinese and international food at multiple levels and budgets can be found.

It’s a magical experience when you walk down the clean, beautiful streets with tons of people enjoying the atmosphere and the beautiful Hainan weather. It's clean. It’s friendly.

The staff always smile and they always say hello. It feels like being at a Chinese version of Disneyland. Everyone is waving and everyone is happy that you're there. That is very different than what I experienced elsewhere in China, where I don't see smiling faces and I don't see people who are really happy to see you. In a way, it felt like the first time I went to Thailand and saw so many happy faces. I also don't remember ever hearing staff comment “waiguoren.” Staff are just incredibly polite and hospitable. 

It's so refreshing to be able to kind of escape the cultural fatigue that I sometimes experience living in China and visit this world that just expands upon my dreams of the International vision that I hope will be realized in Hainan.


Image courtesy of Adrian Quetglas China


Image courtesy of Adrian Quetglas China

Inside Adrian Quetglas

Once you step into the restaurant, you are met by beautiful tile floors. They have this beautiful coloring and pattern to them. The glaze makes the light hit perfectly off of it at night. The decoration is very clean and it matches the culinary presentation. It’s warm but fresh, using browns and a textured sort of decoration.


Image by Vanessa Jencks/That's


Image by Vanessa Jencks/That's

There are plumes of feathers at appropriate points paired with warm, emotional abstract paintings. The lights are warm and invite you into feeling like you're someplace you can relax, let down your guard and enjoy the night.


Image by Vanessa Jencks/That's

It felt like stepping into a hotel restaurant, and yet the food did not disappoint. I don't know if there are other people who have experienced this, but I've personally experienced going to an apparently five star restaurant and then the food just does not even meet basic expectations compared to the price. In comparison, I think that Adrian Quetglas’ decoration and dishes are both very high class and matched to one another.


Image by Vanessa Jencks/That's

About the Food and Drink

So, now getting to what you're all waiting for; to find out how delicious the food was.

First, the bartender made a whisky sour (RMB58) for my husband and Carlo picked correctly that I was a mojito (RMB58) kind of woman. As mentioned before, they made mocktail drinks for my children, which they quickly sipped up through striped straws.



Image by Vanessa Jencks/That's


Image by Vanessa Jencks/That's

As soon as we sat down to a long set table, a complementary ciabbata bread basket and accompanying butter swirls greeted us. The food is authentically Spanish but they also have unique incorporations of Hainan and Chinese touches like the butter with sprinkled matcha, which I found surprisingly more delicious than the butter and pomegranate swirl.


Image by Vanessa Jencks/That's

Next were the tapas.


Image by Vanessa Jencks/That's

First, we enjoyed clam and ham croquettes (RMB36 for four). They were warm and smooth as we took bites. The experience of the ham croquette was like biting velvet.


Image by Vanessa Jencks/That's

I’m not always a diehard seafood fan due to its mishandling by other restaurants and cooks. Perhaps I’m a bit spoiled by my childhood with readily available fresh shrimp, but the clam croquette was clean and fresh as catch of the sea should be. This was a new dish that had not yet been added to the menu, so if you go based on recommendation by That’s, keep in mind that you can request the croquettes.


Image by Vanessa Jencks/That's

The tomatoes and cucumber gazpacho with Napolean biscuit (RMB48) was chilled and refreshing.


Image courtesy of Adrian Quetglas China


Image by Vanessa Jencks/That's

The almost tarty zest of the gazpacho caused my taste buds on the back of my tongue to come alive. That isn’t a typical culinary experience within the salty, spicy and sweet range of food so common in average, every day diets.

The foie gras with mandarin and brioche (RMB68) was slightly sweet. I’m also picky about foie gras but I quite liked their offering in this dish. The texture mixed really well with the bread. Due to the charming and alluring presentation of the foie gras in mandarin cutlets, even my children had their first experience with foie gras and actually enjoyed it.


Image by Vanessa Jencks/That's

The Salmon tartar with avocado puree and sriracha mayo (RMB78) was spicy, moist and had a pleasant and crumbly kind of texture.


Image by Vanessa Jencks/That's


Image by Vanessa Jencks/That's

After trying so many unique tapas and appetizers, I was surprised by the Patatas bravas with hamon 5J Black label served with homemade aioli (RMB58). In the world, there are many potato-based dishes, and this goes on my list as another potato dish I enjoy. Of course, my children also love anything to do with potatoes, but they quickly mistook the hamon for ham or bacon. Carlo quickly chuckled in response that there was a clear difference they were soon to taste.

202112/WechatIMG46.jpeg
Image by Vanessa Jencks/That's

He was not wrong as the smoky and tender hamon was my favorite part of the dish with the homemade aioli being a tasteful touch.


Image courtesy of Adrian Quetglas China

When we moved onto soups, my family was served both mushroom and pumpkin soups (RMB48 each). My husband promised to let me have a taste of his pumpkin soup.


Image courtesy of Adrian Quetglas China

Unfortunately, as I was busy with taking pictures of the mushroom soup and he was engrossed in good conversation as he was spooning up his soup, by the time I was ready to taste the pumpkin, he only had smeared soup on the outside of the cup available for me. I felt too proper at that moment to lick out the sides. 


Image by Vanessa Jencks/That's


Image by Vanessa Jencks/That's

The mushroom soup was delicious. Chefs can make grave mistakes by picking the wrong mushrooms to cook, allowing an earthy taste to pass through to the soup. Most people simply do not enjoy that flavor. This soup however had all the flavor of a densely flavorful mushroom and yet was frothy and light like a latte at the perfect temperature. It was divine.

The truffle chicken for four people (RMB268) was fun and interesting to behold. Swirled inside a delightfully crusted cornbread is a mixture of soft chicken, truffle paste and glutinous rice. Keep in mind that only one serving is pictured below, not the whole truffle chicken for four people.


Image by Vanessa Jencks/That's


Image by Vanessa Jencks/That's


Image by Vanessa Jencks/That's

The truffle was moist and decadent in the way that pie is, except without being super sweet. The crust was reminiscent to cornbread, pies and potpies of my childhood in the US, which very few women in the US can pull off and are an absolute headache to make at home in a toaster oven. It was really special for me to get to have that sort of experience again. The texture and slight hardness of the bread mixed perfectly for a great combination of flavors.

It’s a hearty end of a meal and should have been the last dish that we ate, but of course our hosts decided to lavish us with two more treats that night.

For those who love steak, the Tomahawk Steak M5 with mashed potatoes (RMB898) meant to share with others was top notch.


Image courtesy of Adrain Quetglas China

The steak was just the right tenderness and flavor and the mashed potatoes were as expected at the right consistency.


Image courtsey of Adrian Quetglas China

We ended the night with absolutely stuffed bellies. I barely could force myself to take a bite of the chocolate rock and sponge cake (RMB48) but I did anyway. I’m glad I did take a bite because it slid pleasantly across my tongue and was rich in chocolate yet not overloaded with sugar.


Image by Vanessa Jencks/That's


Image by Vanessa Jencks/That's

Throughout the whole night, I never added salt to improve flavor, a testimony to the superb flavor preparation.

Conclusion

If you’d like to get away or treat your loved ones for Christmas, New Years or Chinese New Year, make plans to eat at Adrian Quetglas when you visit Ocean Flower Island. 

There’s a soft opening for the Hilton at Ocean Flower Island on December 3, so you could snag a deal and a bit of celebration as they put on a show for the grand opening. Otherwise, you can stay for cheap at one of the resort’s standard hotels. Look forward to the next article about the food and fun of the Ocean Flower Island.

Adrian Quetglas China posts announcements and menu updates on their official WeChat. You can follow them by scanning the QR Code below.

Adrian Quetglas China
Tuesdays-Sundays, 2-10pm. E-21-11 Haihua Island catering street, Binhai New Area, Danzhou City, Hainan. 13636379403. See listing.

[Cover image courtesy of Adrian Quetglas China]

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