PEr FYI

November 24, 2018

Barnabier, Barcelona…A Simple, Most Delicious Sandwich

Barnabier is situated on the Olympic port walk overlooking the luxurious marina at a walking distance from the Barcelona casino, so it’s quite literally tourist central.

To me the world’s greatest simple ham sandwich is a combination of two things that I loved to eat in Spain! Iberico ham and a garlic, tomato rubbed bread. With that rich flavor profile, it is without a doubt one of the best gastronomic pleasures there is.

There’s lots to love here, and lots that could be a little better. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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February 17, 2018

Agua, Barcelona…seafood lover’s dream

Thanks to the city’s proximity to open waters, seafood has always been an important part of the Catalonian diet.

Situated directly along the boardwalk, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, not too far and a beautiful stroll along the sea with the W Hotel. The menu covers the Mediterranean basics with fresh, eclectic seafood being the specialty.

Let’s start with the one bad dish. The paella was very salty. Everything else was great. It’s as if the best of the Catalan market has been brought to your plate. Even my friend in the group, a notorious seafoodie, was overwhelmed. The sangria de cava was the star. Drinking it was smooth, light, refreshing and exhilarating. Back off, mojito!

Agua is a fantastic choice for Mediterranean seafood. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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January 14, 2018

Brunch & Cake, Barcelona…some of Barcelona’s prettiest dishes

Barcelona may not yet specialise in the lavish, unlimited-champagne brunches so common in places like Hong Kong and Dubai, but an increasing number of restaurants are offering innovative and intriguing brunch menus. The inventive and affordable menu at Brunch & Cake came groaning with dishes so tempting I didn’t know where to start. And crucially, the food is tongue-tinglingly delicious.

Can’t stomach another eggs Benedict? Their take on egg benedict: shrimp, poached eggs, lobster hollandaise and salad on house made black bun is an altogether more exotic experience. Spoil yourself with the house made nutella pancake, sugar free cocoa sauce, choc chip cookie and grilled banana, or for a healthier option, go for banana matcha pancakes, poached pear, banana/cacao “nicecrem”, pistachio and vegan strawberry sauce (no sugars, baked)

They’re all so enticingly and beautifully presented that choosing just one can prove unexpectedly time-consuming. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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December 10, 2017

El Nacional, Barcelona…ambience and garlic prawns alone makes the visit worthwhile

Tapas is undoubtedly the best kind of food. You get to sample loads of dishes and share the experience with friends.

Once a car park, El Nacional is now an open-concept, gorgeous space ” restaurant emporium” that houses four restaurants and three bars. A unique atmosphere, the setting alone makes the visit worthwhile. Needless to say, we tried La Taperia, the tapas restaurant.

The small plates here are boldly flavored and actually portioned to share. Paletilla Iberica de Bellota (Acorn-fed Iberian shoulder ham) was top notch. Even better was Calamares a la Andaluza (Squids Andalusian-style). Navajas a la Donostiarra (razor clams, San Sebastian style) is another mouth-watering dish. Heuvos estrellados con jamon Iberico (fried eggs with Iberian ham) was executed with flair. An ordinary-sounding offering of Gambitas de Huelva fritas (Fried little shrimps from Huelva) was an unexpected success. Other great dishes to try are Pan de coca con tomate, aceite y sal (flat bread with tomato, oil and salt), Bomba de la Barceloneta (Barceloneta bomb), Croquetas de jamon Iberico (Iberian ham croquettes), The classic Spanish tapas dish – Gambas al Ajillo (Garlic prawns) was the dish of the meal. Pink, deliciously plump prawns covered in glossy garlic oil. We order a second plate immediately.

Those who live locally are lucky, others should be willing to travel. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 5, 2015

Bar Celona Tapas & Rice, Macau…the Iberian ham 36 and 45 are almost indescribably mouth-filling and deeply satisfying

For such an acclaimed restaurant it is surprisingly unassuming. Set upstairs in a de-script building on a quiet street in Macau it’s even almost difficult to locate. Inside, there’s a casual and relaxed atmosphere rather than stuffy with decor in dark and earthy colours.

The Iberian ham 36 and 45 (well-aged for 36 and 45 months) were thinly sliced (nearly, but not quite, paper thin) rashers of ham, each slice visibly interlayered with fat and lean. That was certainly a  flavour that is almost indescribably mouth-filling and deeply satisfying. The savoury olive muffins were also a crowd-pleaser. The unique flavor of these little breads is a slight departure from a traditional sweet muffin. The octopus leg gelatin style with potato and olive oil and the baby cuttlefish with artichoke were also pretty good. The former, though not my favourite dish, was an interesting combination that worked. The baby octopus, had stronger, if not more common flavours and was also quite nice. Again, however, both were qualified rather than resounding successes. A taste of the suckling pig is definitely necessary before you walk out those doors. Very different from your traditional Chinese Suckling Pig. My only fuss was that while the meat was amazing, the skin was tough and not exactly crackling with its crisp. The paella topped with generous amount of seafood shone less brightly amongst the rest of the stellar dishes served that night. The crispy egg with bone marrow and truffle is far from a simple egg dish but the crystal bread with olive oil and tomato was somewhat unremarkable.

Is Bar Celona Tapas & Rice a fine dining experience with top notch service? Nope and nope. Is it an satisfying and solid choice in Macau? Sure is. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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July 16, 2011

Txapela, Barcelona…indulge and try various types of tapas

Near the Plaza de Catalunya (Barcelona’s main square), there is a decent place for tapas where we have the option to get seated by the tapas bar or the tables. Try the first floor, where it is a bit quieter.

The menu consists of about 50 different pictures, usually bread or toast but not always topped with different things: vegetables, meats, cheeses, tortillas, seafood, you name it. The prices of pintxos (or small tapas) is about €2 – €4.  However, the serving is small and often bite sizes only, which is in fact quite good because we get to indulge and try more types of tapas.

This is Tapas 101 for the clueless diner who wants to learn tapas. This is the true truth and I say it as it is…

June 11, 2011

Restaurante Botafumeiro, Barcelona…food and service were good but not value for money.

Good restaurant but too expensive. Good quality and delicious seafood. The staff were friendlyand helpful.

It didn’t come cheap. It was pricey, in fact, it’s overpriced. Probably won’t go back there. There are a lot of other great restaurants in Barcelona which offers equal or better ambience, service and food at better value and price, so you should probably give this one a miss. This is still the true truth because I am still saying it as it is…

May 8, 2011

Bar Central “la Boqueria”, Barcelona…Exquisitely fresh seafood. IT IS WELL WORTH IT!!!

On my first trip to Barcelona years ago, I went to Bar Central (which is located in La Boqueria, Barcelona’s most famous market)  for breakfast every day. Years later, on my third visit to Barcelona, I went there twice for breakfast. I tell you this: IT IS WELL WORTH IT!!! The food was still excellent.

You will be spoilt for choices. There’s the extensive menu written on the board. You can also take a look around and see what’s good on the counter. I tend to look at other people’s plates. If, after all that, you don’t know what to order, just ask them to cook for you. But you must definitely have some of the exquisitely fresh seafood which will be drizzled with garlic and parsley/olive oil.

Go early to get a seat, otherwise you’re just going to have to stand patiently behind the other patrons, waiting for their seats to free up! This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

March 19, 2011

PLA Restaurant, Barcelona…perfect for a special meal for two

PLA is a lovely restaurant with a very intimate setting and romantic mood ambience just a short walk from Las Ramblas.  If you’re celebrating a romantic occasion, book ‘la cova’ –  a little private alcove which is perfect for a special meal for two.

Location-wise it is close to impossible to find, but it is worth the trouble. The service was excellent, the amiable, bilingual staff very friendly but pity the Catalan food doesn’t match up to everything else. That’s not to say that it is bad, but it’s just that it is nothing special.

PLA is a feast for the senses. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

February 19, 2011

Dans Le Noir, Barcelona…dining in complete darkness – a very bizarre dinner exprience

Filed under: Food & Beverage, restaurant, Spain — Tags: , , , , — PEr @ 6:00 pm

You have dinner here in complete darkness. The concept is simple: we are served a three-course  meal with guidance from visually impaired servers. It is so dark, you can’t even see the fingers on your own hand. You can’t see what you are eating. They don’t tell you what you’re eating until after the meal.

Unlike entering a cinema, when your pupils and eyes get used to it after a while and adjusts, here you REALLY can’t see anything. Nothing. I found myself opening and peeling my eyes as wide as possible but the human eye does not adjust to this kind of intense darkness. Then I began to cock my head to the side and tried harder to listen and use my other senses. This restaurant gave me a glimpse into the experience of the blind people. The eating process was rather primitive. I used my hands to try to locate my food and it was tedious to get it into my mouth.

You sit very close to the other diners but you can only hear them but not see them.The food is dissapointing for the price they charge. I’m no seasoned wine drinker but can tell a good wine from a bad one and this was not good. But then again, now I fully understand how a dining experience in a restaurant is made good or bad by the setting/ decor, environment and food presentation. Being stripped of sight certainly dampened the enjoyment of eating.

Mixed feelings about this place. None the less as long as you bear in mind you are not expecting Michelin starred food, it’s worth to go there at least once for that unique experience. I will never take my eyesight for granted anymore. This is the true truth as I say it as it is…

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