Bombas Gens opens to the public today as a brand new cultural centre, following the complete restauration of the former hydraulic pumps factory, an exceptional example of industrial art deco architecture. The building in itself is amazing, and the art and photography exhibitions it will house are enough reason to visit it again and again, but there is another, greater star hidden inside. Indeed, this is the home of Ricard Camarena’s eponymous Michelin starred restaurant.
Ricard Camarena is one of the best known chefs in Valencia. He has xx very popular restaurants in the city, including the Ricard Camarena Restaurant, which boasts one Michelin star and has now moved to Bombas Gens from its previous location in Ruzafa.
His Central Bar, at the heart of Valencia’s Mercado Central, is a great place to stop for a drink and some tapas after a morning shopping in the market, or to enjoy a typical almuerzo with his signature bocadillos. In the trendy Ruzafa district, his Canalla Bistro offers a creative take on world dishes using the best Valencian produce in a lively atmosphere.
For something a bit more sophisticated, Habitual, on the lower floor of Mercado Colon, provides an elegant setting for a special meal with Mediterranean flavours. The Colon Market is also where you can find the Ricard Camarena Lab, where he runs his cookery courses – the perfect gift for those aspiring chefs!
And now, the Michelin starred Ricard Camarena Restaurant is ready to welcome once diners again at its stunning new location. The chef’s flagship restaurant offers an exclusive culinary experience for just 40 diners in 1000 square metres of dining space, bar and gardens, with plenty of natural light. Foodies will love the mouth-watering tasting menu, which of course uses the best local produce.
There is no doubt that Ricard Camarena is a man who is passionate about food and loves Valencia and its produce. We catch up with him to find out more:
How would you describe your cuisine?
I am inspired by, and totally devoted to local produce. Whatever we can source in our immediate surroundings dictates what we can and cannot offer at the restaurants. Then we apply creativity to get the best out of each product. We can choose what we offer and how it is prepared, but not when, as that is dictated by seasonality.
What do you consider your signature dish?
I don’t believe in “star dishes”. Each dish has its function and, as the saying goes, there have to be ugly ones to appreciate the beautiful ones.
Why did you choose Valencia?
After the success of our first restaurant in Gandía (Arrop), it was the natural step to move to the nearest big city. To be honest, I thought it would be just a transitional place, but I felt in love with Valencia, its people, its culture… and decided to settle in the city. Eight years on and I’m still here!
What is your favourite place in the city?
I really enjoy spending time in the Mercado Central, for its vibrant atmosphere and fantastic array of local produce. I also love going to the Turia Gardens along the old riverbed, the green lungs of the city.
What about your favourite Valencian food?
Artichokes are my favourite local vegetable, whichever way you prepare them.
One product you cannot live without?
I love working with citrus fruits, of which we have plenty in Valencia! I love their fragrance, the acidity they bring to dishes… everything!
Have you got a top cooking tip?
Always cook with seasonal produce.
Where can we find the perfect paella?
I would say the perfect paella is the one my mother used to cook, but in truth there isn’t such a thing as