Tat; pure unadulterated crap. Hate it all; especially fecking fridge magnets.
Imagine then my unadulterated joy at being led to a little mecca of such hideous offerings in Barcelona.
But there was something afoot; it just didn’t seem right. Something odd. Why would you visit such a store this late of an evening, especially when it was shut? A ring on a door bell; a girl appeared and then ushered through the back and lo, a bar! Tourist tat I don’t like. Bars I do!
A glass or two of Freixenet Cava. A little chat and a feeling still that all was still not quite revealed. And it wasn’t for under us, accessed by a lift was a little restaurant acting as a sort-a, permanent pop-up eatery. This is the Chi Ton Restaurant, sister to another similar establishment hidden behind a dry-cleaners.
Being rather image heavy I’ll keep the menu details brief. Some of the dishes were superb, a couple of others not so. The Salmon tartar with wasabi cream might have looked like a rum-ba-ba, and tasted sublime but was far, far too big in size for example. There was a vegetable risotto (not pictured) which was very nice but lacked any of the excitement found in the other dishes, while the fish dish, moist with crisp skin and delicate in flavour, was served with a seafood reduction that totally lacked in depth of flavour. But who wants to remember the poor aspects when over-all the experience was such fun! When little touches, such as the layer of romesco sauce in the calsot mousse, made the experience so superb.
I should also add that we all went in moaning that really we weren’t hungry, after a huge, late lunch, when just a bag of dry-roasted or salt and vinegar would be plenty and everyone ate everything (more or less). Plentyful wines were supplied by our hosts, Freixenet, including the rather stunning Vionta Albarino which was superb with the fish and the risotto, Freixenet Cordon Negro Brut and the Mia Red and White. The former had a rather nice chill to it; which I found rather pleasant.
Our dinner was cooked by Alexander Tabares, with only a couple of feet between us at the dining table and the stove…
- Calcotada Mousse Catalan Spring Onions (wonderful)
- Tartar de Salmón con emulsion de wasabi Salmon tartar with wasabi emulsion (overly substantial and rich)
- Risotto de calabacín y calabaza con espuma de parmesano Zucchini and squash risotto with parmesan foam (I loves me some risotto! Perfectly cooked but uninspiringly exciting when compared to the other dishes)
- Rodaballo con topinambur y espárragos Turbot with artichoke and asparagus (lovely fish, reduction lacking in flavour)
- Filete de cerdo ibérico con boniato y verduras salvaies Iberian pork tenderloin with sweet potato and wild vegetables (stunning!)
- Cremosa de granadilla con merengue Passion fruit cream with meringue (lovely indeed. Pictured before the soft meringue was added)
- Texturas de chocolate Textures of chocolate (even after all that I ate it all!)
There was a visible frisson of excitement when we were allowed to pick our very own fridge magnet from a festooned wall on leaving. I gave mine away. Quickly.
Provença 300 (e/ Passeig de Gràcia y Pau Claris)
Tel: (34) 935 17 59 68