Barcelona Report (inc El Celler C R)
Despite the two failed attempts for a walk in table at Tickets I can safely say that my trip to Barcelona left me a happy man when it comes to eating and drinking.
The original reason for the visit was to get to El Celler for a christmas present feed, however I also had high hopes for the restaurants an bars in the city too.
It would take me a long time to write up all my thoughts on each place, if someone wants anything more specific I will happily add to it in a lower post. Overall I thought that restaurant feeds were the better option, or certainly prefereable for me, than the tapas I ate. Possibly my expectations were too high but I felt that the tapas was often merely passable than anything interesting or particularly stand out.
The wine on the other hand was really excellent and far exceeded any expectaions, both in terms of price and quality. We drank a lot of cava and were very impressed by the quality of it, having drnunk too much cheap stuff in the uk I am certainly going to start hunting out more quality product. Whites and reds also impressed, with wines by the glass absolute bargains compared to what one would pay here in England, stand outs were the La Bota range of sherries and some of the white/red varieties coming out of Penedes and other local areas, a particularly good Syrah from near Barcelona at Gelonch (all white pepper,similar to Hawkes Bay in NZ, if only I had noted its name!).
Allium - Good simple dishes, menu del dias good, very nice calcots off alc and interesting artesan beer (if a little pricey)
Gelonch - An excellent little restaurant, food was top class, clear flavours and very good value, an amazingly good piece of beef with smoked aubergine being a stand out
Coure - Opted for tapas to try and get the really good stuff I was after and didn't disappoint. Very good Jamon and an excellent dish of pomme puree with fried egg and sobrasada (one I may try and recreate at home).
El Celler - Well this certainly lived up to my expectations (which were very high). Some amazingly good eating, highlights being (all 10/10 fo rme) canapes from around the world (small bite sized, explosive flavours of the brothers influences), a prawn dish which featured a local prawn, simply barbecued (one of the best things i have ever eaten), the sous vide red mullet and sauce. All incredible, backed up by some very strong supporting dishes. Desserts were intricate, interesting and incredibly well prepared, if not always to my taste. The wine was again of top quality and good value. All in all I thin kI went 8.5/10 for the restaurant, same as I gave Fat Duck from memory, so joint highest score I have given (possibly deserves higher but I can't regradde FD, so it remains tied).
Bars (I probably won't remember them all)
Cercecira Catalan - Good tapas and wine, a very good dish of jamon and oyster mushrooms, excellent value wine, shame the beer was not as varied as had hoped
El Xampanyet - Favourite of the bars, could so easily be too touristy based on its location, very nice cava (not convinced by the xampanyet), some tasty boquerones and some excellent lomo
Vila Viniteca - Only drank here, again excellent value and good range
Sagardi Euskal - Disappointing pintxos, all a bit standard, cheap and quite a nice bar, but food not interesting me at all
Ale and Hop - Amazing selection of world craft beers, well worth hunting out if you like your ale. Lots of Mikkeler (a real treat), some good local artesan beer (i very much enjoyed my Mistral)
la Cerveteca - Good bar, excellent beer selection, very pleasant local IPA (again can't rememeber its name)
Monvinic - Once we had got in (annoyingy automatic doors with limited sensor range) we had some excellent wine by the small glass, very good value and again things we would unlikely easily get in UK, so good we returned before we left to kill an hour or so before flights
There were more, I will add to this as I rememeber them, suffice to say, thanks to all who helped contrbitue in the first place, PBSF, Canager, Aleta etc. I had a great time in the city and ate and drank very well indeed. The three lunches I had at ECCR, Coure and Gelonch really were excellent in their own way and a real highlight to me of what Spain is doing so well with regard food at the moment. I look forward to returning, trying some more bars (away from El Born/BG area this time) and seeing what other treats the city and the country have for me.