14 June 2016
E A T I N (G) B A R C E L O N A
So I admit it was the Woody Allen Movie that was the reason for my first visit to Barcelona 5 years ago. I had been dating a guy who reminded of the male protagonist from that movie, and I needed to digest the moment by following in the movies footsteps.
The trip was a lot of walking and reflection - it was escaping home to catch some time for reflection and letting my mind mature.
My second trip was the Girlfriend Trip: escaping the ties of employment for a weekend and heading to off Sonar to dance away some tensions.
On both of these trips there was little desire for visiting restaurants, and my food intake was more of an opportunistic nature. But this was to be changed on my third time to visit the Catalonian Capital: A trip with the Focus wholly on Food.
'the holy Leaf'
Avenue de Mistral 54
Location on the first night was a culinary hommage to Mexico and its culture. A food adventure taking place on a large baby blue stone mosaik table is the best way I can describe the experience. Starting from Margarita Mescal with Salt foam on top all the way through liquid olive spheres, crab salad served inside the crab shell, and sea cucumber (first time for me to try that) - edible leaves that actually turned out to melt in the mouth like candy and tasted like an intense peppermint: it was surprising, light and delicious. There was a massive christian cross on the wall with an altar to light candles beneath it, like in church, set in the center of the restaurant that made the eating experience very christian - except for the mescal instead of wine and breaking the taco instead of the bread.
'the two chopsticks'
Carrer d'Elisabets 9
Authentic Asian dishes served over the counter in 'tapa' portions. If you have Sake with it that could be called Izakaya - except that the Food plays central Role here. Its recommended to sit at the counter and enjoy the live cooking experience. Like the tender stroking of the tuna filet, being turned multiple times & repeatedly stroked before softly being cut into perfect pieces of sashimi. Asian foodculture - insight into a different way to treat and approach raw products. I noticed the food was prepared slowly here - not the usual kitchen rush - instead each plate was given time and attention.
Fusing Japanese & Peruvian Cuisine creating this culinary togetherness that was namegiving to this cozy location. Authentic peruvian dishes such as different ceviche alongside sleek nigiris works up a great balance authenticity and variation. Having my tastebuds convinced, the question remained: Why Japanese Peruvian Fusion - to an outsider it may appear a very random combination. Doing some research let me stumble across a key term: Nikkei Cuisine - The term Nikkei is used to refer to emigrants of Japanese origin and their descendants. Peru was the first South American country to host Japanese workers. Nikkei Cuisine has been accepted and defined as a mixture of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine, that combines the tastes and techniques of both cultures.
Supposed to be a safe choice of Hotel, I expected to be 'Wowed' by my stay at the Mandarin. Unfortunately me & the mandarin had a bit of a sour start. Upon check in I was led to a room that was not only small, nothing seemed ready, there was no welcome note, fruit bowl or even a piece of chocolate. Not what I would expect from a 5 Star hotel that claims to be playing top league. After some complaining an upgrade was made and the second night waived even. This certainly made up for it, but the picture of this small room, so misfitting to the hotels powerful and grand image, remains stuck in my head. The hotel itself is beautiful, great location, friendly people and gorgeous rooftop bar & lounge which is a bit more relaxed than the one at the W but unfortunately features a pool which is only knee deep - like a kiddy pool - which I found kind of bizarre.
THE GAUDI PARK
In the memory of the movie that initially brought me to Barcelona I wanted to visit the Gaudi Park, as I had never seen it. Upon arrival and queuing in line I was told that tickets where only purchasable now for entry scheduled the next day. It was a bit of a disappointment to be honest and I do not really see the efficiency of that system. So heads up for anyone going to Barcelona and wishing to see Gaudi - try to get tickets organized through your concierge beforehand.
THE W LOUNGE
For poolside afternoons, snacks & drinks this place is perfect. Its a nice walk along the beach too, I had the cab drop me off a bit in front and walked 15 minutes along all the beach restaurants to the W - whose massive build looking slightly like a mini version of Burj Al Arab cannot be overlooked. The beach promenade however has a miami feeling - lots of skating, tan buff looking crowd, headphones, colourful shorts and sixpacks are roaming around here. Its a nice vibe. The W Lounge itself has more of the typical aspiring nikki beach club people in that preppy casual attire. The athmosphere was fantastic, the music great, the location stunning - the food was a bit of a fail though. I received a salad that actually made it into my 'fail food album' & then waited 30 minutes for the check.
The restaurants were fantastic. The Hotel was ok after changing the room. The Gaudi Park I can't judge but I do not like the door policy & I recommend planning that sightseeing daytrip in advance. The W Lounge is beautiful but not so tasty - so I recommend just to go for drinks & to watch the sunset.