Ferran Adria to Present El Bulli Exhibition in London

Ferran Adria and El Bulli, the restaurant in northern Spain that was named best in the world for a record five times, are to be the subject of an exhibition at Somerset House in London later this year.

“El Bulli: Ferran Adria and the Art of Food” will run from July 5 through Sept. 29. The retrospective will feature a multimedia display of the history of the establishment and the creative process behind the gastronomy. There will be models of dishes, as well as original menus and tables set with cutlery.

Just don’t expect any food.

“If you go to the Barcelona football museum, you don’t expect to play soccer,” Adria told a news conference at Somerset House today. “If you go to an aviation museum, you don’t fly in an airplane. You will learn about food, not eat it.”

The exhibition comes to London from Palau Robert, a center of Catalan culture in Barcelona, where it has attracted more than 650,000 visitors. Adria said in an interview that he is hoping to take it to Boston, Sao Paulo and other cities.

More than 1 million people applied each year for the 8,000 places at El Bulli, which closed in 2011. Diners enjoyed as many as 48 courses, with delicacies such as gin snow, nitro-caipirinha with tarragon concentrate and an exploding olive.

Adria stopped serving diners to replace the restaurant with a culinary foundation that will focus on the art and science of gastronomy and become a creative hub. He said the success of the exhibition in Barcelona has made him rethink the exact nature of the foundation, scheduled to open in 2015.

Tickets are on sale now at 10 pounds ($15.57), available online from http://www.somersethouse.org.uk.

(Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. He is U.K. and Ireland chairman of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards. Opinions expressed are his own.)

Muse highlights include Robert Heller on music, Jason Harper on cars, Rich Jaroslovsky on technology, Lance Esplund on U.S. art and Amanda Gordon’s Scene Last Night.