December 5th, 2012
It’s was a grey day (even in Barcelona), nevertheless, I set out to find a new restaurant with a good lunchtime menu. I’d noticed L’Antic Forn (old bakery) a few nights before, because it had a bunch of calçots outside on a little table – part of the reason for going back was to see if they were serving calçots – these are a Catalan invention – forced onions which are cooked on a barbecue until black on the outside. The blackened outed layers are peeled off and the calçots are eaten, dipped in Romesco Sauce or Salvitxada.
There were no calçots on the lunchtime menu (they do have a special Calçotades menu in the evenings), but L’Antic Forn looked interesting, an old school Catalan restaurant, not unlike Can Lluis. Note the lovely Art Nouveau windows. The clientele seemed to be business people (mostly) and not at all touristy – I got the last empty table and quite a few people came afterwards (a good indication of quality is a full restaurant).
The menu turned out to be very good – four courses for 11€, the first course being a salad buffet! The choice of salad was huge, lots of different varieties of leaf, pasta, tomatoes, carrots, olives, etc. I had a modest portion, but some people piled it up on their plates or went back for more.
I had Alcachofas al Horno (artichokes cooked in the oven) next, drizzled with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt (I think). Coming from London where artichokes are less common, I do like to indulge when in Barcelona. They were very good!
I’d wanted Pies de Cerdo Guisados con Jamón (stewed pig’s trotters with ham) as my main course, but they’d just run out. Never mind, I made do with Merluza Plancha con Guarnición (girdled hake and a vegetable garnish) – a very underrated fish in the UK. The hake was cooked perfectly and the vegetables were soft, but they’d obviously been cooked in a delicious savoury stock, as they tasted amazing.
I ordered my favourite regional pudding – Crema Catalana – I’m sure I don’t need to translate that.
Coffee was probably an extra 1.50€ – not exactly breaking the bank.
The food and service were excellent – I highly recommend L’Antic Forn.