Barsa on Market Street
Went to Barsa this Friday. As it's a neighbourhood spot was excited to try it! Had an 8pm reservation - by 845 still no table. At that point we inquired whether a table outside was available - it had been for 45 minutes!!!! After waiting 10
More minutes for drinks - we stood up to walk out. At that point the manager promised us a table immediately. Which presumably would have been possible 45 minutes before.
So did you eat there? I posted before about this place. I don't expect it to survive. There seems to be an enormous number of staff, one guy's job seemed to be just straightening the stools at the bar. If they want to emulate a Barcelona tapas bar they need to drop the "club" vibe, and get really good traditional tapas happening fast and furiously so patrons walk in and smell intoxicating garlic prawns, and see Iberica hams hanging over the bar.
I had a very different experience at Barsa. Being there on a Monday probably had something to do with it. I went with some work colleagues and I had little expectations. The three of us did the Chef's choice of 12 tapas for $100 which was enough food for dinner, not stuffed but satisfied. The menu reads like the typical menu I hate: non traditional tapas that incorporate Asian and Indian elements and flavour combinations which may be questionable just to mark themselves as different. But when the food arrived it was all excellent. Execution was spot on; everything was properly seasoned and cleanly presented; spices were in balance and complemented the main focus; items such as squid, lobster and octopus were perfectly tender; breading on the lobster pogo didn't detract from the lobster; and everything came out hot.
We tried two different sangria, both delicious in a sweet, fruity, fun way. I preferred the red sangria over the sweeter cava sangria.
The room is a stylish mix of vibrant colours in a exposed brick cellar with ample soft lighting.
It is obviously not trying to be a traditional spanish tapas restaurant. But if you want to just have a fun night out, in a cool room with tasty food and sangria, it definitely delivered when I was there.