I went out to Clot with Oli to visit the flea market – Los Encants Vells-Fira de Bellcaire, one of the oldest flea markets in Europe. Clot is one of the older suburbs of Barcelona, dating back to Medieval times, when it was called Clotum Melis (Clot de la Mel), literally “honey clot”. Clot borders the districts of Sagrada Família and Poblenou and was once quite rural. During the 19th Century it became industrialised, but it’s now a quiet (aside from the building work on the roads) residential area.
Los Encants has existed since the 13th Century, though not in the exact same spot – there are records from around 1200 of public auctions and encante sales in Plaza Sant Jaume, at the center of the old walled city of Barcelona. The market moved around considerably over the next 700 years, before settling at Plaza de las Glorias in 1928. By the time I lived in Barcelona, in the 90s, the market was in the center of a raised traffic roundabout, somewhat like Spaghetti Junction in Birmingham. It was moved within the same area, almost on a monthly basis during the infrastructure building period for the Olympics in 1992. In 2013 a permanent (and impressive) site was built opposite the Plaza de las Glorias and building work is going on to reroute all the traffic underground.
Once we’d finished looking at junk (sometimes one comes across a single right or left shoe), we thought we’d wander round Clot and find a suitable restaurant for lunch. In the process we visited Mercat del Clot, yet another of Barcelona’s traditional food markets (I will go back and document it another day). We came across an astonishingly cheap fish stall, selling decent fish for at least half the normal price. Oli bought a kilo of monkfish (rape – pronounce “rap-eh” in Spanish) for €3.50! Perhaps they were closing for the day and wanted to get rid of everything.
After a little searching was came across El Rovell del Clot on a quiet, shaded street, the menú del día (above) looked good and the place was full of locals – most of them indoors enjoying the air conditioning. We were content to sit outside in the shade.
It was a hot day, so I ordered a refreshing vermut de la casa, as soon as I sat down. Oli was on Vichy Catalan.
As a starter, I ordered Remenat d’ous mongetes i pernil serrà – scrambled eggs with white beans and jamón serrano. This was absolutely delicious!
Oli ordered Amanida de mozzarela de búfala i llagostins amb pesto calabrés – buffalo mozzarella with king prawns and Calabrian pesto. This looked excellent and was quite substantial for a starter.
To lubricate my lunch, I drank the usual vi rosat, produced locally.
We both ordered the same main course, Cuixa de xai amb allioli – leg of lamb, cut across the bone with allioli and fried potatoes. The lamb was tender and went perfectly with allioli.
When it came to pudding, our waiter offered Oli some whisky ice cream. Oli asked if it was real whisky and the waiter asked if Oli would like some whisky on top. Of course, Oli replied, “Yes!”
I ordered a vanilla and chocolate ice cream and the waiter offered me whisky too! Why would I say no?
The waiter promptly returned with the ice creams and two bottles. He poured a generous helping of whisky on to Oli’s ice cream and then suggested I might prefer Triple Sec to whisky. I agreed to the suggestion and wasn’t disappointed. There was no extra charge for this generosity, it was all included in he price of the 3 course menu.
You will be unsurprised to see that I ordered a carajillo de cognac to keep me going for the rest of the afternoon.
El Rovell del Clot certainly lived up to it’s name, which translated means, “The (Egg) Yolk of Clot” – the food was muy rico and the service was terrific!
El Rovell del Clot is at: Carrer de Rogent, 108, Clot, 08026 Barcelona.
We walked back to Plaza de las Glorias, where Oli caught the air conditioned Metro to the center of town and I cycled down to Poblenou and the Mediterranean…
Hey, Mad! This lunch looked fabulous & delicious. If I had been there with you all I would have needed the ac & then a siesta. Cycling on down the way would have had to wait. But we already know you all are formidable lunchers. I look forward to the next one. Thanks for reporting. Happy Meals & Trails.
Thanks Judith. It was a very shady street, so sitting outside was quite nice. I have to admit though, that by the time I’d cycled down to the sea, had a wander through Poblenou and cycled back to Sant Antoni, I practically had to wring my clothes out before jumping into a cold shower!
Thank you for my enviable Sunday morning lunch in a grateful Southern Highlands blessed with a few mms of rain! A glimpse into another part of Barcelona: my file on it is becoming bulging 🙂 !! Prawns, lamb and whisky ice cream . . . . I would have ordered the way Oli did . . . and enjoyed it . . . .agreed with you on the ‘usual; libations’ . . .
Thanks Eha – we were just intending to order regular ice cream, but the waiter must have been a good judge of character!
I’ll have some Remenat d’ous mongetes i pernil serrà, thank you very much. That sounds delicious. But the name, “The Egg Yolk of Clot,” would itself be worth the trip. 🙂
I didn’t really know what to expect from the scrambled eggs, but I’ve had amazing Basque ones in the past. The remenant d’ous were different, but wonderfully savoury – I may have to go back and have them again!
Imagine the days when the area was called Honey Clot!
What fun to wonder through a flea market or loppmarknad as we call them. And yet another wonderful lunch with Oli. Whisky on ice cream is doable for me. My dear Italian friend introduced me to pouring a splash of gin over vanilla ice cream and it’s the only way I eat it now.
Thanks Ron – it’s a far cry from the old advertising photography trick of pouring methylated spirits on ice cream to stop it melting under the lights!
I’d have loved the flea market AND the lunch. Big Man would have had his ice cream “baptized” too 😉
I love that – ‘baptized!”
The first time I had baptized ice cream, was in a tiny Italian restaurant on Great Sutton Street in the early 80s. The owner served all the food and insisted that Strega ice cream needed additional Strega flavouring. I remember going there once, a couple of days before Christmas and he gave everyone free drinks and the ice cream was positively swimming! I wish the restaurant was still there.
Take about a great find…you really did find a nice place for lunch.
We did indeed! Most times it works perfectly, but we did avoid 5 or so restaurants that had spaghetti bolognaise on the menu, not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with that , but it’s a new peculiarity on a menu and definitely not local.
I would have avoided those with the bolognaise as well.
That and pizza!