In Magnolia’s Spanish-Irish comedy “Tasting Menu,” an assorted group of diners comes together on the closing night of one of the world’s most renowned (fictional) restaurants on the Spanish coast. Los Angeles may not have any restaurants quite on the level of Spain’s El Bulli or El Celler de Can Roca, which advised on the film, it comes close with Bazaar at the SLS Hotel. Food writers joined “Tasting Menu” director Roger Gual (pictured) and star Claudia Bassols Thursday at Bazaar to celebrate the April 18 release of the film. Mirroring the meal that unfurls in the film as the characters deal with their personal dramas, Bazaar’s tasting menu offered a nearly-endless series of beautifully-composed small plates.
Gual said the idea for “Tasting Menu” was based on the idea of a couple that plans a year ahead for a hard-to-come-by reservation, but splits up before the date of the dinner and must decide if they still want to dine together. Gaul and Bassols were excited that the creative Bazaar dishes like a Philly cheesesteak made of “air bread” and Wagyu beef and a Japanese taco with a daikon wrapper were complemented by very traditional Spanish bites like tomato-manchego toast, Iberico ham, chicken croquetas and anchovy-stuffed olives.
Bassols, who also appeared in PBS’ travel food show “On the Road Again” with Mario Batali and Gwyneth Paltrow, said the night that Gual concocted a very competent paella for the entire crew was one of the highlights of the shoot. She stars in the Spanish-Irish production alongside Stephen Rea, Fionnula Flanagan and Vicenta N’Dongo as the chef.