October 8th 2013
I had lunch at Topik today with Oli, in the Eixample district, just above Universitat.
Owner Adelf Morales is one of the new generation of Catalan chefs who served his apprenticeship in St. Sebastian, Valencia, Milan and Osaka, before returning home to open his own restaurant. Adelf’s style is particularly influenced by Basque, Catalan, Italian and Japanese food.
In spite of being an upmarket restaurant, Topik continues the Spanish tradition of a cheap mid day menu, so you don’t have to be rich to eat here. There were a few price supplements on the menu, but the food was stunning.
I ordered Arros de Conill, Camagrocs i Gambes – rabbit rice with prawns and yellow foot mushrooms. I couldn’t resist this one, the rice was wonderfully savoury, made with rabbit or chicken stock and containing prawns and mushrooms. That’s a rabbit leg doing a Can-can on top.
I had an amazing main course, Kokotxes de Bacallà al Pil-pil – cod throat pil-pil. Bacalao pil-pil is a traditional Basque dish, where cod is cooked with garlic in olive oil – if you can master this dish it’s considered to be a sign that you are a good cook. The oil should thicken and become a sauce during cooking, the garlic helps in this as it contains a natural emulsifier, along with gelatine in the cod. Pil-pil is the sound of something bubbling while cooking. These days cod and hake throat are considered to be a delicacy and fetch a very high price (more than the fish itself), but traditionally fishermen were poor, so they sold the fish and kept the heads and throats for themselves. The dish was absolutely delicious.
Oli ordered an excellent Steak Tartare – yes I got to try that one too!
Pudding was quite French – mine was a crispy, Tartin de Poma – tarte tatin, served pastry side up.
We had a fabulous lunch and were served by Adelf Morales and his partner Eva Melé, which makes a big difference to some star chefs in England who don’t even cook in their restaurants. Topik was cosy and fairly full, service was excellent and we loved the food. The menu de migdia costs 12€ but some items had supplements varying from 2 – 5 €. It was very good value nevertheless and we drank rosado, of course!