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BARCELONA DINING REPORT; 2/11 (continued; this is part two)


Restaurants & Bars 38

BARCELONA DINING REPORT; 2/11 (continued; this is part two)

erica | Mar 1, 2011 09:44 PM

The first section details dinners at PacoMeralgo and Cal Pep; here is the link:


This was the best meal of our trip thus far and was, in a word: thrilling! A million thanks to those who recommended it here on Chowhound.

Dishes were so complex, and so delicious, that I soon abandoned my quest to note exact descriptions of each course. Please forgive any slight errors. The restaurant is small, with perhaps 10 tables set in a rather stark, white, black and red contemporary dining room.

Two of us opted for one Tasting Menu (half-portions of three menu courses, plus cheese and dessert, an excellent value at 48euro) and one Chef's Daily Menu consisting of normal portions of two courses, plus dessert, 25 euro). We were showered with two amuse gueule and one sherbert as well.

The first amuse was an intensely flavored and delightful cold pea soup with berberecho, ham, and "agua de mar." Second, tallarines de sepia, a sort of fettucine of squid, on a base of slivered green beans, with specks of black truffle, oyster sauce, and a nut viniagrette. Both outstanding.

Service is relaxed and friendly, but competent, and wait staff speak English; there is also a menu in English.

My Tasting Menu began with a smashing and updated version of the classic Pulpo a la Brasa, served here with Romesco. Two hefty chunks of octopus artfully arranged on top of a curlicue of the flame-hued Romesco. Yes!!

My fish course, again from the Tasting Menu, maintained the heights of the previous dishes: San Pedro (San Pietro) in a pool of artichoke puree punctuated with dots of black caviar from the Val Arran in the Pyrenees. The fish wore a shawl of cansallada, a Catalan pork product often described as similar to bacon.

My next dish elevated me to the stratosphere: A cube of tender suckling pig with crackling skin topped with slices of black truffle and served with a sauce of ceps and a mound of "frozen dust of ceps," and a slash of a reduction of milk (!!) One of the best dishes I've enjoyed in Spain this year. Or any year! Actually, one of the best dishes of the past year!

After this, a mint "mojito" sherbert with a touch of rum.

And then: A generous cheese course with a number of selections from Catalunya and the Pyrenees, along with Taleggio and a blue, and a cube of membrillo.

Bread here--three types are offered--is excellent; both Catalan Arbequina oil and Picual from Jean, are offered for dipping.

To close: A light, frothy, semi-liquid confection of passion fruit, dried apricots, and tea
(the seeds of the maracuya provided a wonderful textural component in this swirl of sweet deliciousness)

A simply outstanding dinner and a bargain at 48 euro.

My friend's 3-course meal was also excellent, if less thrilling: The first course after the amuse was a Carpaccio of prawn in a mussel puree, with batons of the Catalan root vegetable, chirivia (pastinaca sativa), or parsnip.

She was given a choice of fish or meat, and chose the latter: Two double lamb rib chops served rare and accompanied by a blueberry sauce. The meat was excellent but the dish was less exciting than the others.

To close the three-course dinner, my friend was given a dessert plate that included a brownie, with panna cotta and two ovals of gelato.

We began our dinner with glasses of cava and continued with a red from Priorat, the esteemed Catalan wine region. Both were chosen by our server.

At 101 euro for two persons, including four glasses of wine and a bottle of water, dinner at Hisop was an incredible value.

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