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.
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!