Bar Restaurante Xose

bar restaurante xose

This week I had lunch at Bar Xose, a few streets away from Sant Antoni Market. I’ve been here a few times before and it’s always good! The name Xose is Galician for José (Joseph) and serves Galician food – you can expect to find dishes like Pulpo con Cachelos (octopus with boiled potatoes) here, but probably not on the cheap lunchtime menú.

menú del día

I knew I was having lunch here as soon as I saw the Menú del Día board outside – I fancied several options!

xose interior

There’s probably room for about 16 to 20 people sitting at tables inside with a similar number outside. It was colder today, so I wore a jacket, but it was still warm enough to eat al fresco.

vermut

I ordered a Vermut de la Casa while I made up my mind. I was slightly distracted by a 50 something couple outside smoking. He was obviously a business man, wearing a tailored black suit, while she had long blonde hair and ripped jeans, not quite Courtney Love, but definitely someone from a rock group. Evidently this was a fairly new romance, as they were all over each other! For a second I felt like  Pepe Carvalho working for a cheap divorce lawyer, so I was very glad when my waitress arrived with the menú!

menú

The food looked very good today – I was spoiled for choice

buñelos de cerdo

…and pampered, the bread arrived with two complementary Buñelos de Cerdo. Bunyols (Catalan) are fried dough balls, popular around the Mediterranean for thousands of years, as mentioned in De Agri Cultura by the Roman writer Cato the Elder in the second century BC. Buñelos are closely related to doughnuts and beignets – they can be served as something sweet with honey, sugar and fruit or savoury, stuffed with bacalao, cheese, or meat. The above contained pork sausage meat and tasted like fluffy sausage rolls.

arroz caldoso mar y montaña

For my first course I ordered Arroz Caldoso Mar y Montaña (Arròs Caldós Mar i Muntanya), a soupy rice containing surf and turf. This Mar i Muntanya (sea and mountain) mixture of meat and fish is very popular in Catalan cuisine. This was delicious – I think the stock was made of fish and it contained clams, mussels, chicken and sausage, among other things.

coto elosegi

I chose the usual vino rosado – the above is Coto Elosegi. When they bring you a full bottle with a Menú del Día, it means that you can drink half a bottle per person.

merluza al la plancha con sanfaina

My segundo plato was Merluza al la Plancha con Sanfaina – hake cooked on a griddle with samfaina, which is perhaps a Catalan equivalent to ratatouille. Hake is, quite rightly, a very popular fish in Spain, a considerable amount of which comes from waters around the north of Britain – sadly it’s not very popular in the UK.

flan

I had flan de la casa for pudding (de la casa means home made and not bought in) and remembered to ask my attentive waitress to hold the cream! Squirty cream from a tube is very popular in Barcelona and is a “feature” with most desserts.

carajillo

Of course, I had a carajillo de coñac for courage and a little lift to get me back to work in the afternoon.

la cuenta

This was another thoroughly good lunch at Bar Xose and the bill came to a whopping €17.40!

Bar Restaurante Xose is at: Carrer Sepulveda, 147, 08011 Barcelona.

Posted in Barcelona, Barcelona Bars and Restaurants, Drink, Eating Out, Fish, Food, Meat, Restaurants, Spanish | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Parlament – Cuina de Barri

parlament cuina de barri

On Sunday I had lunch with Debbie in Carrer del Parlament, which has become a trendy foodie spot where locals go to eat. The street is close to Sant Antoni Market and recent blockages to combat pollution, along with Covid legislation, allowing more tables in the street, has been good for business. We met at Bodega Vinito for a quick vermut before surveying all the menus on the street. Sunday isn’t a cheap eats day, so we were looking for food we both fancied eating. The Catalan word parlament means exactly the same as the English parliament, coming into the English language from the Latin parlamentum via the French parlement and the Norman Conquest. The French word parler (to speak) is also related and in Catalan it’s parlar – some of these Latin similarities can be quite useful!

parlament interior

We settled on Parlament – Cuina de Barri (neighbourhood kitchen) – evidently named after the street. The food people were eating looked good relative to the menú and we got a seat within about 5 minutes. Carrer del Parlament can be busy, so it’s worth getting here before the official 2pm lunchtime, at the weekend.

vermut de la casa

We ordered another vermut while we studied the menú.

parlament menú

Everything is laid out on a single page, with some amusing (to me) headings (expressions) in places – echarle huevos a la vida (throw eggs at life – put your back into it, or make haste) and para abrir boca (to open your mouth – to start off).

croquetes

To open our mouths (though from the me tienen frito section – they have me fried), we ordered croquetas – the two on the left are rabo de toro (oxtail) and on the right there’s a jamón ibérico (Iberian ham) and a setas (mushroom).

croqueta de jamón ibérico

All the croquetas were excellent, especially the jamón above – note the beautifully crispy outside and creamy interior with pieces of ham.

foie micuit con mermelada de tomate

Next came Foie Micuit con Mermelada de Tomate – semi cooked foie gras with a tomato marmalade, sprinkled with chopped pistachios and crusty bread. The foie was excellent and on a par with what I normally buy at Avinova in the Boqueria.

vi rosat

We ordered a bottle of vi rosat – a pale pink Catalan wine from Segura Viudas who also produce cava.

patatas bravas del parlament

The wine and foie arrived at the same time as Patatas Bravas del Parlament – Patatas Bravas are probably the most common tapa in Spain. They are chunks of deep fried potato with a hot red sauce – Salsa Brava. Somewhere over the last 30 years allioli and even mayonnaise have sneaked into Patatas Bravas, as you can see above. Regardless, the potatoes were nice and crispy and the hot sauce was súper fuerte – perfect!

tartar de tonyina amb ou de guatlla

Our Tartar de Atún con Huevo de Codorniz (tuna tartar with a quail’s egg) from the lo tienes crudo (you got it raw) section, arrived on a circle of chopped aguacate (avocado). This was simple but stunning and probably (croquetas aside) my favourite dish!

1/2 taula de formatges

We looked at the puddings on offer and Debbie said, “Do you fancy some cheese?” Cheese is normally served at the beginning of a meal in Spain, alongside jamón, but it seemed like a good idea, so we ordered a medio tabla de queso (half a cheese board), which was a decent size! Bottom right there’s a Manchego and the soft cheese above it was a Camembert (which is popular in Catalunya) like cheese – I have no idea what the others were, but they tasted good! The cheeses were served with dried fruits and drizzled with olive oil (as is the custom).

vi negre

With the cheese, we of course, needed a vi negre (red wine), so we ordered a glass each of a local tinto. I don’t remember what it was, but it worked well with the cheese.

la cuenta

Sated, we got the bill, which wasn’t cheap, but when you consider what we had (and it was all very good quality) it was quite reasonable. I notice now, that two vermuts are on the bill, but there was no charge, so it must have been included with something …there was a vermut section at the top of the menu…

carajillo

We wanted to go to a grubby bodega round the corner for a carajillo (spotted earlier), but sadly it was all closed up. We could have walked around in circles for an hour or so on a Sunday, looking for a suitable spot, so instead I suggested the Victoria, which is on the way back to Debbie’s casa and they always look after us. Today was no exception, we were welcomed with open arms. I promised to come and eat there soon – I’ve been checking the menu every couple of days or so – they do fantastic traditional stews and a mean fideuà.

Parlament – Cuina de Barri is at: Carrer del Parlament, 26, 08015 Barcelona.

Posted in Barcelona, Barcelona Bars and Restaurants, Drink, Eating Out, Fish, Food, Meat, Restaurants, Spanish | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Born Street Food 2021

born street food

Every Autumn Barcelona Born Gourmet puts on the three day Born Street Food festival with some of the very best restaurants from El Born taking part. The opening hours were noon to midnight (Friday and Saturday) and until 10pm on Sunday.

pla de palau

The festival takes place in Pla de Palau, a square which held the Palace of the Viceroy, before it burnt down in 1875. It is said that Pla de Palau was once the commercial centre of Barcelona, as it was the main route into the city from the port and Barceloneta. These days, the square is somewhat marooned between large roads constructed at the time of the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. I remember distinctly how difficult it was to get to Barceloneta back then, because the roads changed shape, quite literally, on a daily basis. We crossed Passeig de Isabel II in order to get to the square and joined the queue, left hand side of the picture above.

el oasis

Any skepticism I had about the location vanished when I peered through a hole in the black mesh screen around the fence and saw a foodie oasis with people sitting on the grass. The queue was short and we were able to buy tickets within about 5 minutes. There was no fee to get in, but one was obliged to buy food and drink tickets in order to enter. Tickets cost €3 each – food on all the stalls cost two tickets while a drink cost one. If you bought eight tickets, you got a free glass – somewhat necessary if you wanted to drink!

mari gorri vermut

First things thirst, there were several square bars, with a server on each of the four sides. There was a small queue for each, of about three people – this stayed about the same for the duration. They were selling drinks for one ticket each – these being vermut, wine and beer. I assume the beer was Estrella, as it’s a local company and they were prominent sponsors of the festival. I ordered a vermut – Mari Gorri, from Pais Vasco, which compared favourably with Catalan brands.

carn de vedella coberta

Our first stop for food was Sagardi, a Basque restaurant, which specialises in aged beef and seafood. Aged Basque beef comes, ideally from Galician dairy cows (Rubia Gallega), which are put out to grass when their milking days are over. They literally spend years grazing (until they are 8 – 18 years old) which makes for beautifully tasty and tender meat. The beef is further enhanced by dry aging for 100 days.  They had nets over the meat to keep any flies off.

carn de vedella a la barbacoa

Look at the beautiful yellow fat on the txuletón steaks above. I was invited behind the counter to take pictures and noticed, when the steaks first go on, they are covered with a large handful of coarse sea salt, most of which falls off when the meat is flipped on the grill.

txuletón sagardi

The steaks are served rare in a toasted baguette with grilled and peeled pimientos. The Txuletón was incredible – in my opinion better than Wagyu beef from Japan.

carn de vedella

Later on they took the fly screens off the beef for me to take a closer picture.

el cerdo

Next to the Bodega Vidrios y Cristales stall I noticed a golden pig’s head which I’d seen somewhere before – back in 2015 there was an identical pink pig’s head hanging up at the Born Vi Novell wine festival.

vidrios y cristales

Vidrios y Cristales were cooking up two options – the first being pulled pork in a bun.

cerdo a la barbacoa

I saw the chef open up the smoker to check the meat and started to take a picture. Immediately, he opened everything up for me on both of their barbecues.

porc a la barbacoa

This one here is ready to eat. I was really taken aback by how much the busy workers were prepared to invite me behind the scenes to take pictures. I didn’t have to ask, people just kept inviting me!

tortilla

Later in the evening Debbie wanted to try the Vidrios y Cristales truita – Catalan for tortilla. I was impressed by their technique. The tortilla was agitated often with a spatula to create fluffiness and clumps inside. It gave it a fantastic texture.

truita de patates manchada amb xoriço

The Truita de Patates Manchada amb Xoriço – stained potato tortilla with chorizo tasted fantastic and came with Pimientos de Padron. The staining, being red, came from the pimentón in the chorizo.

vila viniteca

Next we looked at the Vila Viniteca stall – they are wine merchants who’ve organised a lot of festivals in Born over the years.

formatge

…and the perfect thing to go with wine is cheese! I didn’t notice until editing the photos, that the cheese mountain middle left, is English Montgomery Cheddar which tastes deep, rich and nutty. They have excellent taste, Montgomery Cheddar is my favourite!

queso de cabrales

They also had a dish of Cabrales (ready to plate up) from Asturias. This is a blue cheese with quite a kick and is aged in limestone caves.

plats de formatge

Above are the Assortit de Formatges Artesans –  assorted artisanal cheese platters.

el foro

El Foro is an Argentinian restaurant in Barcelona, so it’s not surprising that their dish is typical of a country with a strong tradition of barbecuing meat.

botifarres

They had a mountain of sausages cooked but not fully browned,

choripan

ready for their Choripan, which comes from chorizo and bread (pan) combined, so think superior spicy hot dog with salad and a hot dressing.

euskal etxea

Euskal Etxea Taberna had my attention as soon as I spotted what they were cooking. This is yet another Basque restaurant in Barcelona, as you may have noticed by the name.

marmitako

The dish on offer here was Marmitako de Bonítol, bubbling away in the cauldron.

bonítol

Tuna Marmitako is a traditional Basque fisherman’s stew. Once again, the tuna which was covered to keep out the flies, was uncovered without prompting, so that I could take a picture.

pebrots choriceros

One of the important ingredients in this stew (aside from tuna and potatoes) is dried choricero peppers.

marmitako de bonítol

This was definitely one of the very best dishes at the festival and they were generous with the tuna!

cadaques

Next to Euskal Etxea was the Cadaqués stall serving Arròs de Conill i Botiffara de Cal Rovira a la llenya.

arròs de conill i botiffara de cal rovira a la llenya

This is a rice dish with rabbit and sausages from Cal Rovira, cooked (traditionally) over a wood fire.

vi rosat

By this time I’d switched to drinking vi rosat – this one was a very pale pink, almost imperceptible against the blue sky.

la multitud

This is what the crowd looked like. It stayed fairly constant throughout the day – as new people arrived, those that were sated moved on. There was music from a booth to the left of the people above. DJ Fred Guzzo and others provided mellow soul music from a bygone era, which had a pleasant ambience, without interfering with talking.

1881

We went to 1881 next for their amazing Mandonguilles amb Sípia.

mandonguilles amb sípia

This is a typical Catalan Mar i Muntanya (surf and turf) dish of meatballs in a cuttlefish sauce. These were absolutely perfect!

bronzo

Debbie’s favourite stall was Bronzo Bar e Cucina, an Italian tavern.

pasta cacio e pepe

Bronzo were cooking Pasta Cacio e Pepe amb Trufa Negra. Normally Cacio e Pepe (cheese and pepper) is made by mixing cooked spaghetti with grated Pecorino Romano, a little of the cooking water and some black pepper. This creates a simple and delicious dish of creamy cheesy pasta with no lumps. Here, the Bronzo chef mixed the freshly cooked pasta inside a whole wheel of cheese (which may have been Grana Padano), with two large stainless steel spoons. This of course looked fantastic and the cheese stuck perfectly to the pasta making a creamy sauce.

pasta cacio e pepe amb trufa negra

The finished dish was sprinkled with black truffle and tasted amazing!

guzzo

My final food indulgence was at Guzzo Restaurante, Cocteleria y Club. Here they were offering Croquetes de Xai i All Negre (lamb and black garlic croquetas). I love good croquetas and saved these until last.

croquetas

I watched longingly while they fried the croquetas to perfection.

croquetes xai i all negre

Of course, they had a perfect crunchy exterior with a creamy and unctuous centre.

zz rosado

I walked Debbie up to the centre of El Born, before making my way home via Carrer de Milans and Carrer dels Escudellers (in El Barri Gòtic) – for a nostalgic visit to streets I lived on many years ago.

Posted in Barcelona, Barcelona Bars and Restaurants, Drink, Eating Out, Fish, Food, Game, Meat, Restaurants, Spanish | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Kuletos

kuletos

I was doing some work for Adrian this week in Poblenou. We were finished by 2pm, so Adrian suggested we have lunch at Kuletos, just round the corner.

kuletos bar

Kuletos opened in 1990 and is owned by the Recasens, a local family, who also have butchers and charcuterie shops in the area.

captain haddock

The decor here is quite sophisticated, but evidently somebody loves Tintin – there are models and pictures throughout the restaurant (along with a few other favourites).

menú tornasol

Kuletos does a Menú Tornasol (sunflower – a plant that follows the sun) – a Menú del Día which costs €13.95 and includes 3 courses with a glass of wine. They specialise in rice dishes here, so we took that into consideration when making our choices.

ca n’estruc

Thirst things first – we ordered some local wine! I drank an excellent Ca N’Estruc vi rosat, while Adrian ordered white. The wine arrived with a complimentary dish of olives.

pa amb tomàquet

We had a plate of superior pan con tomate – bread rubbed with garlic and tomato, then drizzled with olive oil, to go with the food.

musclos gallecs amb gorgonzola

Adrian’s starter was Musclos Gallecs amb Gorgonzola – delicious (I got to taste them) Galician mussels with a Gorgonzola sauce.

truita de patata, ceba i botifarra esparracada

I had a Truita de Patata, Ceba i Botifarra Esparracada – a potato and onion tortilla containing botifarra (butifarra in Spanish) with asparagus. This was light and fluffy, as any good tortilla should be and elevated considerably by the chunks of delicious botifarra and romesco sauce on the side.

uncooked botifarra

Botifarra is a Catalan sausage, which dates back to the time of the Romans. It’s probably related to Linguiça Calabresa and Cumberland sausages. Botifarra come in many forms, the regular one above contains pork and seasoning, but they can be made with tongue, ears and nose, egg, blood, rice, truffles, etc. They can be sold raw or cured.

paella marinera de peix i marisc

As arroz (rice) is a specialty here, we ordered a Paella Marinera de Peix i Marisc (fish and seafood paella) as our main course.

paella served

This was excellent – which makes me want to come back and try their other rice and fideuà. Rice dishes are normally prepared for two or more people, but according to the menu, one person dishes of arroz negro are available on Tuesdays, fideuà on Wednesdays and paella on Thursdays – there’s an arroz especial dish available on Fridays.

sorbet de llimona al marc de cava

Adrian skipped pudding, but I had (with a little encouragement) Sorbet de Llimona al Marc de Cava – lemon sorbet with Marc de Cava. The alcohol sits at the bottom and you drink it through a straw, before eating the sorbet with a spoon …well at least that’s what I did!

carajillo

…and to finish off, we both had a carajillo de coñac. The food and service here was excellent! I didn’t see the bill, as it was Adrian’s treat, but it would have been in keeping with most of my recent lunches.

Kuletos is at: Carrer del Doctor Trueta, 220, 08005, Poblenou, Barcelona.

 

Posted in Barcelona, Barcelona Bars and Restaurants, Drink, Eating Out, Fish, Food, Meat, Restaurants, Spanish | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Panda and Smile

panda and smile

I went out looking for albóndigas (meatballs) today (having seen some on a menú yesterday) but there were none to be had …until I came across Panda and Smile. Menús diarios change daily – they want you back tomorrow, which keeps everything interesting! I often look to see if there are a few tables of older Catalans – they know where the food is good 😉

panda and smile interior

Panda and Smile is a small corner bar in Eixample, just above Ronda Sant Antoni.

menú mediodía

I’d looked at quite a few menús and was about to give up when I found this bar. First option on the segundos (main courses), Arroz con Albóndigas …and I liked the options for the primeros too! The formula here costs €9.95 – doesn’t offer wine, but you do get a soft drink or you can have a beer for an additional €1. Frankly I wasn’t too bothered, a glass of wine is cheap and my mind was made up!

agua y vermut

I ordered a vermut de la casa while I waited and Lenny (my waitress) brought me some posh water (my non alcoholic drink option) in a recyclable bottle. This reminded me that 30 years ago, one could buy water here in very large glass bottles (20 or 30 litres) which came in a basket with handles. You paid a deposit on the bottle and took it back to the bodega for a replacement when it ran out. Sadly they were phased out in the 90s and replaced by “disposable” plastic. I’m not pointing the finger at Barcelona here – this is a world problem – we all used recyclable containers years ago!

olivas

While my food was being prepared Lenny brought me some delicious olivas picantes.

choricitos al vino

I didn’t hesitate with my choice for first course – I ordered choricitos al vino, tiny chorizos cooked in wine. These were fantastic – hot and spicy. The sauce was per mullar pa (Catalan – good enough to wet bread) so I made sure to mop it all up!

vi rosat

At this point I was ready for wine and ordered a glass of vi rosat.

arroz con albóndigas

My mandonguilles (Catalan for meatballs) arrived on cue, smothered in a picante Arrabbiata style sauce with a little tower of rice as an accompaniment. Again, these were fabulous!

carajillo

The Menú del Mediodía options here include ice cream or coffee – feeling a bit bloated from the bread I’d used on the choricito sauce, I preferred to order my usual carajillo de coñac.

la cuenta

When the bill arrived, I expected to pay for the vermut and wine, but was pleasantly surprised to see that the brandy in the coffee was included – the total came to €16.25. The food here was excellent, as was the service!

Panda and Smile is at: Carrer de la Diputació, 157, 080011, Barcelona.

Posted in Barcelona, Barcelona Bars and Restaurants, Drink, Eating Out, Food, Meat, Restaurants, Spanish | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

La Flauta

la flauta

On Tuesday evening Alicia returned home, full of praise for La Flauta, where she’d been for lunch with a friend. As the restaurant is nearby, I thought I’d go and check it out.

gatos y perros

After a beautifully sunny dawn, the heavens opened up and it rained cats and dogs. I checked the weather forecast and it said the rain would stop by 2pm. Miraculously, it did!

menú

So I walked up Carrer d’Aribau in sunshine and found a rain streaked, but promising menu (slightly askew) outside the restaurant. I did try straightening it, but it wouldn’t budge and I didn’t want it to fall off the wall!

queue

At the entrance to La Flauta, there was a huge queue, stretching from the pavement,

la flauta bar

all along the bar,

la flauta fish counter

past the fish counter

la flauta interior

and into the dinning area. It’s no longer summer (though still quite warm), but with the all the rain, locals wanted to sit indoors.

vermut fot-li

A few tables were taken outside, but there were a couple of vacant ones, so I caught the eye of a waiter and he told me to take my pick. I was delighted, the interior queue lasted until about 3.30! I asked for a vermut de la casa and the waiter brought out a bottle of Fot-Li and poured it into a glass of ice and sliced lemon. This is an excellent vermut from Reus, with a beautiful old school bottle.

menú del día

I sipped my drink and studied the Menú del Día – slightly more expensive than normal at €14.95, but this is classy restaurant.

calabacin relleno de pescado

I ordered calabacin relleno de pescado al graten as my starter – a courgette stuffed with salmon and prawns, baked with cheese and breadcrumbs on top, sitting in a prawn sauce. This was absolutely delicious!

pan

Even the bread here is special and essential to mop up the fish sauce.

cal vicentó

As usual, I asked for vi rosat – this one, Cal Vicentó, is made with Tempranillo grapes – Garnacha is more common, though other black grapes are often used. I’d expected a single glass of wine here, but no, the waiter left the bottle – when that happens, one knows that the meal includes half a bottle of wine per person!

lluvia

As I sat enjoying my lunch, the rain started all over again! The sky looked bright (down towards the sea), so I expected a shower – instead it continued until about 4pm! My poor waiter took it all in his stride, bobbing in and out with a tray over his head!

paella de la casa

I had paella de la casa for my main course and expected it to be good. This was an exceptionally savoury paella mixte, containing fish, chicken and sausage.

allioli

I immediately ordered allioli to go with the paella, but this was one of the few times that it wasn’t necessary – the paella was perfect, just with a squeeze of lemon!

crema catalana

My pudding was a crema catalana – one of my favourites. This one was possibly the best one I’ve ever eaten – perfectly crunchy on top and soft and creamy inside.

carajillo

I was in no great rush to leave, as it was still looking quite wet. I ordered a carajillo with coñac for courage and a kick to wake me up after the delicious lunch.

la cuenta

…and finally the rain did stop as I ordered the bill! I didn’t pay the price (€21.65) much attention, I wasn’t wearing my reading glasses and expected to pay slightly more than usual. So I paid and then the waiter brought me change and a correction – there was an unordered coffee added by mistake. I was very impressed by the honesty and on reflection the vermut and carajillo were cheaper here than many of the lunchtime restaurants that I usually frequent. So, in spite of a €14.95 Menú del Día, the price including extras was only about €2 more than I’d expect to pay elsewhere!

La Flauta is at: Carrer d’Aribau, 23, 08011 Barcelona.

 

Posted in Barcelona, Barcelona Bars and Restaurants, Drink, Eating Out, Fish, Food, Meat, Restaurants, Spanish | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Flor de Maig (2021)

flor de maig

I was shopping in the Boqueria for for oxtail this morning and as I walked up through el Raval to Sant Antoni, I had a good look at all the Menú del Día blackboards outside the restaurants (looking for lunchtime inspiration). Flor de Maig (you may remember me coming here before) caught my attention today and not just for the new exterior paint job. Last time I was here, the restaurant looked quite Spanish with Catalans working front of house. Now it has a more Eastern decor and proudly states that it serves Hindu cuisine …and on it’s website, it says it’s pioneering a blend of Pakistani, Indian, Mediterranean and Boqueria food.

menú

A couple of dishes really took my fancy, so I returned home with my rabo de torro and vegetables from the farm stalls just outside the market. After a walk around the block nearer home, the Mayflower (Flor de Maig) started to reel me in.

vermut de la casa

I sat outside and drank a vermut de la casa while I made my choice. As I watched the world go by, a taxi stopped to pick up some guiris coming from an apartment building opposite. Two people got into the cab, while four people stood and discussed shopping (on the pavement). This went on for five minutes and the taxi driver got quite impatient, blowing his horn several times. Amazingly another cab driver, stuck behind, kept his cool. Eventually two more passengers got into the taxi and the others walked off. The driver behind, looked at me and both of us raised eyebrows at the same time – bloody tourists!

menú del día

As with many other Barcelona restaurants, the Flor de Maig has a set lunchtime menú serving 3 courses, with a drink for €11.90 inclusive. There’s an additional charge of €1 for sitting outside, but it’s worth it! If you look closely, you’ll notice that alongside the traditional Spanish dishes, there are chicken curry, spicy courgettes and pakora salad options on the menu.

mesas

With current issues, the exterior terrace areas for restaurants have been extended and currently the Flor de Maig has an additional 4 outdoor tables going round the corner. You may notice that restaurants have invested in much larger outdoor umbrella/sunshades this year, to facilitate al fresco dining in all weathers.

salmorejo cordobés

I ordered Salmorejo Cordobés con picadillo de huevo duro y jamón serrano – a delicious cold tomato soup from Córdoba, with chopped air dried ham and boiled egg on top. This was excellent!

vino rosado

I ordered my customary vi rosat (rosé) – here you get a glass of wine or beer with lunch.

buñuelos

..and for my main course (the dish that had tempted me to start with) I had Buñuelos de Bacalao Caseros con Guarnición – homemade deep fried and fluffy salt cod balls with garnish (fried potatoes and a wedge of lemon). These were perfectly crispy and fluffy, which is the Catalan style for bunyols de bacallà –  Spanish Buñuelos are denser with more bacalao. Both types are very good!

allioli

Oddly, the Buñuelos didn’t automatically come with allioli, but my hosts were happy to oblige me.

mousse de limón

For pudding, I ordered a mousse de limón – home made lemon mousse, perfect as a light dessert.

carajillo

…and of course, I ordered a carajillo de coñac, to give me strength and courage to climb four flights of stairs and cook an oxtail!

la cuenta

If you compare prices from today and 4 years ago, there has been a modest increase of 30 céntimos! Next time I’ll go back and try the Hindu options.

Flor de Maig is at: C/Pintor Fortuny 29, 08001, Barcelona.

Posted in Barcelona, Barcelona Bars and Restaurants, Drink, Eating Out, Fish, Food, Meat, Restaurants, Spanish | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sense Nom Cerveseria Cafeteria

sense nom

On Monday I had lunch with Jonas and Alicia at Sense Nom Cerveseria Cafeteria, which is conveniently just up the road from Sant Antoni. The weather was lovely, warm and sunny but without the recent stifling humidity. Incidentally, sense nom is Catalan and means, “without name”.

menú del Día

The menú del día looked good (especially at €11 for 3 courses including wine) – I did a little scout around of the other local bars and today this was the most appealing.

vermut

While pondering our choices, I enjoyed a vermut de la casa, an aperitif that I’ve really missed over the last year.

menestra de verduras

Alicia ordered menestra de verduras as her starter – a mixture of cooked seasonal vegetables (and possibly some tinned ones) which can be served as a starter or as a side dish to a main course. There are many versions of menestra in Spain – it can be cooked plain or with ham and is sometimes served drained or in it’s stock, like a soup or stew. Menestra can even be mixed with a little flour to make a thick sauce.

esparrago blanco en dos salsas

Jonas ordered esparrago blanco en dos salsas – white asparagus on a bed of lettuce with two sauces. Here I think the sauces were mayonnaise and Mary Rose, but traditionally, they can also be vinaigrette, Hollandaise and parsley.

fideos a la cazuela

I had fideos a la cazuela – this is not the regular paella like fideuà found on Catalan and Valencian menus, it is a thick and savoury noodle stew with vegetables and pork. The Spanish took pasta with them to the New World, so you will find similar dishes in Mexico and other South American countries.

vino rioroso

We drank a vino rosadoRioroso, a very drinkable blended rosé.

librito de lomo

…and on to the main course – Alicia ordered librito de lomo, which is a pork version of chicken or veal Cordon Bleu.

dorada a la plancha

Jonas had dorada a la plancha – gilt head sea bream cooked a la plancha, which he pronounced, “Very tasty.”

conejo al ajillo

I had conejo al ajillo – rabbit with garlic. This was excellent!

allioli

I was prompted to ask for a little allioli on the side.

flan

Jonas and I had flan de la casa for pudding (de la casa means home made and not bought in) – Alicia skipped dessert in favour of coffee. I remembered to order my flan, sin nata – without cream, otherwise they (most Spanish restaurants) squirt foamy sweet cream all around it.

carajillo

…and of course I ended the meal with a carajillo de cognac, to pick me up for the rest of the afternoon.

Sense Nom Cerveseria Cafeteria is at: C/ Muntaner 21, 08011, Barcelona.

Posted in Barcelona, Barcelona Bars and Restaurants, Drink, Eating Out, Fish, Food, Meat, Restaurants | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Restaurante Romesco

We say goodbye…

The Romesco Family closes its doors permanently.

It has been many years sharing good moments with our clients and that is why it doesn’t hurt so much to hang up our aprons to say goodbye.

We are very sorry that due to these circumstances we cannot say goodbye as we should… That is why we leave you our contact here so that if you wish, you can write to us and say goodbye as we all deserve, nothing would make us more excited.

restauranteromesco@gmail.com

Thanks a lot,

Felipe, Jose, Delfín and Mario.

I’m very sad to discover that one of my favourite restaurants in Barcelona has disappeared relative to Covid. Romesco had no tables outside and therefore no custom through the pandemic.

I have been eating at Romesco for 30 years – the food has always been excellent and incredibly cheap. The staff hardly changed over time and there was always service with a smile and a great sense of humour.

Ironically, in normal times, Romesco was almost always full! When very busy, they would squeeze you in to eat at the bar, everyone moved up a little and chatted to you as the food was prepared. If someone else arrived, you squeezed up a little bit more!

I will miss Romesco very much – it was a Barcelona institution!

Posted in Barcelona, Barcelona Bars and Restaurants, Drink, Eating Out, Fish, Food, Meat, Restaurants, Spanish | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

En la Casa de Xavi

el born

On Sunday were were invited to Xavi’s apartment for lunch. He lives in El Born, one of the older parts of Barcelona with narrow Medieval streets. 30 years ago parts of El Born were considered dangerous, but lately, the area has undergone a renaissance and is now quite fashionable.

jamón y salami

As a prequel to lunch we had a cold xarcuteria plate of jamón and salami.

esqueixada

Our first course was a very traditional Catalan salad dish caled Esqueixada – this is typically a shredded bacalao and tomato salad with onions, olives, hard boiled eggs, etc. Here Xavi added a few pieces of Sill (pickled herring) from Sweden (courtesy of el Vikingo), with some sliced Jalapeño to give it a kick.

reforjat

We drank an excellent local wine, Reforjat, a vi negre (black wine).

vi negre

Note the beautiful glasses, these belonged to Xavi’s father and are over 100 years old!

xai

The main course was a mixture of meats cooked slowly in the oven – the main ones being lamb and pig cheeks on the bone. I chose the lamb (Xai) which was beautifully tender. The dish came with delicious stewed vegetables, almost like a light, potato based sanfaina with wild mushrooms.

verema

After the main course, Xavi’s neighbour Jasmine arrived with cava and some posh biscuits. I think the above, Verema cava, was already chilling in the fridge – again this is a local wine. The champagne glasses belong to the same set as the wine glasses and are similarly hand cut.

en casa

Jasmine is a larger than life Spanish woman, straight out of a Pedro Almodóvar film. She recounted story after story of things that had happened to her at work and we laughed and laughed for several hours. Her funniest story was about being stuck in a service lift, while everyone was on holiday for August, without a mobile phone. She said she was 30 years younger and wearing a small top and mini skirt. Eventually an old painter heard her cries for help, pried open the doors and and invited her to jump from the floor above straight into his arms. Having no other options, she eventually agreed. It was considerably funnier and far more salacious in the telling! …next she started talking about la “killer” – her mother, who likes sex so much she’s put 3 husbands in the grave! I’m sure one could listen to Jasmine’s stories for a week and create an entire Almodóvar movie around them!

carajillo

Exhausted by laughter, we eventually made our way home at 7pm, with a small stop at La Principal for a carajillo …which somehow arrived with a vermut for me and a beer for Jonas!

Posted in Barcelona, Drink, Eating Out, Fish, Food, Meat | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments