El Bulli 1846 opens in February 2020, but don't expect a restaurant. 

By Bridget Hallinan
January 30, 2019
PAU BARRENA/Getty Images

It’s been almost eight years since El Bulli, a Spanish restaurant known for its pioneering molecular gastronomy, shuttered. Former head chef Ferran Adrià and his brother, Albert, the restaurant’s former pastry chef, have been pretty busy since—last October, Albert opened a cake shop and sparkling wine bar in London (appropriately named Cake and Bubbles), and also debuted Enigma in Barcelona in 2017. On Ferran’s end, the El Bulli Foundation was born, he’s working on a 35-volume culinary encyclopedia, and he’s collaborated on a few new restaurants as well, including Michelin-starred Condividere in Turin. Up next? El Bulli 1846, an “exhibition lab” conceptualized by Ferran that will take over the the former El Bulli space in Catalonia, reports Eater

The idea behind El Bulli 1846, which was named for the number of dishes created at the former restaurant, is “pure experimentation,” according to Eater. With a staff comprised of chefs, nutrionists, journalists, and even philosophers, the redesigned 16,000-square-foot space will be devoted to recipe testing and gastronomic studies. And, if the El Bulli menu is anything to go by, we’re sure the experimentations will push some boundaries. 

In a previous interview with Food & Wine, Ferran took one of our writers on a tour of the construction site, which showed the signs of a “brainstorming room” and library—at the time, the old kitchen was still intact. “El Bulli was the most creative restaurant in the world,” he had said. “But it was still a restaurant. Now, there will be no limits.” 

El Bulli 1846 will officially open for business in February 2020—and, as it’s geared more toward experimentation lab and test kitchen than restaurant, don’t expect to be able to have dinner there. In fact, Eater reports that it’s not confirmed how often El Bulli 1846 will be open to the public. In the meantime, however, you can always check out Disfrutar in Barcelona, where you’ll find former El Bulli chefs Eduard Xatruch, Mateu Casañas, and Oriol Castro have brought over their experimental cooking techniques—gelatin macaroni, anyone?

In other futuristic food news, Ikea has a science-driven test kitchen too—Space10—and this spring, the team will be releasing their first cookbook, packed with recipes ranging from micro green ice cream to Bug Burgers (which are exactly what they sound like). Future Food Today will launch in the U.S. on May 10—you can find out more here

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