In spite of staying out nearly all night, I woke up feeling reasonably good this morning, which is just as well since I had to go to Poblenou to do a little consultation. Nookie was also working in Poblenou today, so we arranged to meet for lunch. Poblenou was once a village in its own right, it became the industrial center of Cataluña during the industrial revolution and a suburb of Barcelona. Nowadays many of the factories have been transformed into artists studios, galleries and even craft breweries – it has become quite a trendy barrio.
We went to look for somewhere good to eat on the Rambla de Poblenou, which runs down to the sea through shops, bars and restaurants. Oli mentioned Le Cinquante Huit (conveniently at 58 on the Rambla) when I left the house, but warned that it’s often busy. Nookie had also heard good things about it, so we went to have a look. I was half expecting a queue, but we arrived at about 3pm and had missed the rush.
Le Cinquante Huit looks like a small bar through the window, though there’s no doubt that it’s also a restaurant as it has four boards outside promoting the food. One walks through the bar and down a small passage, with kitchen on the right, to get to the restaurant. There’s even a courtyard with tables at the rear.
There was next to nothing written on the menú del dia board (outside on the right), so I wondered if they’d sold out. However, I needn’t have worried, the waiter recited four starters and mains, all of which sounded good. I chose a fantastic (and restorative) bacalao, leek and potato soup as my primer plato. The potato was just starting to crumble into the liquid and there were plenty of big chunks of salt cod amongst the strands of leek – it was delicious.
Nookie went off piste and ordered from long list of tapas on a blackboard that our waiter brought to the table. She had quite an extraordinary dish of scallops in a purée of céleri (celeriac) topped with a pretty salad containing little yellow flowers. I tried the scallops and purée – they were fantastic.
My main course was lubina a la brasa (grilled sea bass) with rice. Again this was excellent and the seasoning was perfect.
For pudding I had yogurt with honey.
The menú de mediodia, including 3 courses, a drink, bread and coffee costs €10.50 and is exceptional value. Le Cinquante Huit also does a long list of tapas at reasonable prices – it can be busy, so get here by 1.30 or come after 3.00pm.