May 13, 2013

Once more for old times' sake

Pin It

Mr and Mrs Locust are doing a tour of Asia, and came into town today for a few days.  We were debating about which restaurant to visit, and somehow in the end Catalunya came out on top.  I had been very happy with my first visit last month - even though the focus that evening wasn't on the food itself.  I was pretty excited about going back, as it would give me a chance to see how the restaurant would do on a "regular" evening.

I left the ordering to Mrs. Locust, not wanting to push them into ordering anything in particular… other than a couple of things I really enjoyed from last time.  We ended up doing tapas only, which I think is fitting given the positioning of this place.

Pa amb tomàquet - a.k.a pan con tomate, which we had with slivers of Cantabrian anchovies on top.  Perfect balance of flavors.

"Escalibada" with foie-gras and smoked eel - pretty decent, but didn't resonate with me.

Avocado and lobster roll - pretty tasty, and also pretty-looking.  Love the fish eggs on top…

Spherical olives - Mr. Locust wanted to do this for old time's sake, seeing that the 3 of us went to elBulli together.  Definitely tasting a little bitter on the finish today… something I didn't notice on my last visit.

Ham, cheese and truffle "bikini" - there was absolutely, positively no way that I would pass this up on any visit here.  In fact, I wonder if I could just come here and order multiple servings of this and have nothing else…?

Cod fritters - three words: deep.fried.bacalao.  'Nuff said.  Nom nom nom…

Jamón ibérico croquette - four words: deep.fried.creamy.jamón.  'Nuff said.  Nom nom nom…

Bombas from “Barceloneta” – very nice and tasty. I don’t think they were using minced wagyu as the filling, but nevertheless this outperformed the bombas from that other Spanish place

We were reasonably full by now, and hadn’t ordered any main courses. Mr. Locust wanted just a liiiittle bit more food, so we ended up getting the suckling pig tapa since we couldn’t handle half a piglet. While you kinda miss out on the fanfare associated with watching the staff chop up the piglet with a plate, I must say that this wasn’t a bad alternative. Well… it IS suckling pig we’re talking about, so that’s a no-brainer for me!

Padron peppers – having recently discovered these little buggers, I had my heart set on playing Russian roulette again and seeing if I could get the spicy ones. The batch we had would seem to break the curve, as we counted 5 spicy peppers from a plate of no more than 15. Also noticeably more bitter than the other ones I had.

Finally for something sweet to finish the meal. I was thinking of trying something new, but as I had highly recommended the two choices I had from my last visit, I raised no objections when Mrs. Locust asked for them.

Catalunya fruit salad – no, this ain’t just any fruit salad that you see at Cantonese restaurants… This is better. The pieces of fruit come harder and the don’t taste like something that had just been chopped up moments ago. My understanding is that these were compressed and/or cooked sous vide, and infused with the flavors of different herbs and spices. I think the pineapple and rock melon were paired with cloves, while star fruit tasted minty. The strawberries were halved and the tops were filled with jello that tasted slightly bitter and alcoholic. Refreshing.

“Torrija” with smoked milk ice cream – as yummy as I remembered last time.

Mindful of the corkage charge and not wanting to indulge too much, I brought just one bottle for the three of us. I must have been busy fiddling with something, because I didn’t even notice when the bottle was removed from the table. Apparently someone had decided to decant the wine – a good call – and it was done somewhere out of sight.

Now, I was always taught that sommeliers (or regular waiters) should never decant a customer’s wine where the customer can’t see it, so that the customer can rest assured that what goes into the decanter is indeed the wine chosen by the customer and not something else. Now I know this wasn’t an expensive bottle of ’82 Lafite or anything that the restaurant would bother to secretly switch, but still… it’s a matter of etiquette and principle.

2002 Kistler Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast – dried herbs, forest pine, still a liiittle alcoholic on the nose, but this has softened significantly after 10 years. Definitely sweeter on the palate but not on the jammy side.  Not bad for a drinking wine…

Leaving aside the service aspect - we had a hard time understanding our waitress while she butchered the names of the dishes, and one could never get the attention of a waitstaff somehow - this was a wonderful meal.  No fails, and many of the dishes were simple yet delicious - comfort food that brings a smile to my face.  The three of us left the restaurant very satisfied, and with a bill that was smack in the middle of what I often call the danger/death zone - where one is most likely to get the least bang for one's buck.  With this price performance, Catalunya should be beating the pants off the competition.  Ferran said it would...

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map