Spain's elBulli restaurant to take two-year break

El Bulli restaurant head chef Ferran Adria poses after an interview with Reuters about his new book, at the May Fair Hotel in London June 22, 2009. REUTERS/Stephen Hird

MADRID (Reuters Life!) - Spain’s elBulli restaurant will shut for two years to allow Head Chef Ferran Adria to compile an encyclopedia of the recipes that have made it one of the world’s most celebrated eateries.

Chef Adria -- who has turned foam into a culinary art form -- told food lovers at the Madrid Fusion gastronomic fair on Tuesday that the three-Michelin-starred restaurant will close its doors in 2012 and 2013 and re-open again in 2014.

ElBulli was voted the world’s top restaurant for the fourth year in a row last April in the S. Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2009 compiled by Restaurant Magazine.

Located in the northeastern Catalonian coastal town of Roses, elBulli already closes for half the year so that Adria and his team can work on new creations.

It is fully booked for 2010.

Adria’s team has used scientific research to invent new techniques, such as substituting agar-agar jelly for gelatine, because they found it can be used at higher temperatures.

Costing about 230 euros ($324) a person and serving dishes like lamb’s brains with sea urchins and sea-grapes, detractors have branded elBulli as pretentious and elitist.

But supporters note that Adria -- who has been lone head chef since 1987 -- has helped popularize appliances so that amateur chefs can imitate his foamy dishes on a budget at home.

Reporting by Inmaculada Sanz, writing by Martin Roberts, editing by Paul Casciato