Bar Centro

Photography by James Merrell

José Andrés’ molecular gastronomy

Inside the extravagant SLS Hotel in Beverly Hills, the collaboration between celebrity chef José Andrés, world-renowned designer Philippe Starck, and retailers Murray Moss and Franklin Getchell is a eclectic undertaking, to put it mildly. Arguably, the four pillars that comprise this lavish undertaking are: Rojo y Blanca, a play on the traditional Spanish tapa-teria; the Patisserie, a glass-encased pastry kitchen; Bar Centro, a central bar; and Moss, a “free-floating” emporium. The Bazaar en-courages its guests to boundlessly dine, sip, lounge, and shop their way through wonderfully strange environments that bleed into one another.

Upon entering The Bazaar, patrons will immediately come face-to-face with Bar Centro, the glorified food court’s mainstay. Subtly delineated by impeccable design schemes, the surrealist décor is a mix-and-match of furnishings from some of the world’s most elite design studios, as well as Starck’s own bespoke oddities—like leaning LED displays featuring looped portraits of regal dukes morphing into monkeys.

As the most alcohol-laden area of the four-headed monster that is The Bazaar, Bar Centro seems to best reflect Andrés’ pioneering spirit. Widely credited for introducing both avant-garde and tradi-tional Spanish fare (i.e. tapas) to America and, more famously, experimenting with molecular gastronomy in his vast culinary confections, the gastronome presents an intriguing assortment of specialty cocktails. The “Liquid Cherry” Manhattan is just one of many master strokes, which blends whiskey with cherry spherification—the process of taking liquid and reshaping it into sustaining caviar-like pearls that burst at a touch of the tongue. Those seeking over-the-top spectacles in their nightlife ventures are bound to find it in one of Andrés’ “Bazaar” experiments.

– Kee Chang