C / Bellafila , 5 , 08002 Barcleona 5
I actually had reservations elsewhere , yes I'm one of those Arseholes that book tables I don't make , which inevitably caused the NO RESERVATIONS trend in London , thankfully it hasn't gone that way in Barcelona , yet . I Think I might be tempting them with my no shows.
So. Why didn't you go to your reserved tables I hear you say . Well let me explain a restaurant called Gelonch was my first choice, it looked and sounded great but I just didn't fancy tiny gastronomic portions , causing the waitress/waiter to spend a lot of time explaining the details of what I'm about to eat in 5 seconds flat.
Then Casa Calvet the restaurant of the Gaudi Building , highly spoke of .... mostly on Trip advisor I feared this was a infamous TRIP.ADVISOR.TRAP. It had all the classic signs . Very tempting was the inexpensive taster menu 56euro including coffee , service and water! So I was led to believe that the good write ups on T.A could come from the value for money more so than the quality of the cooking. You're always going to be less fussy when the bill comes in at 130Euro than 250 right?
Then I found some YouTube videos that had been made, they were showing the chefs at Casa Calvet constructing their dishes , I'm sure these promos were created to entice the viewer to dine however for me it did quite the opposite .
It looked as if the dishes were designed to be made with MINIMAL effort , it wasn't just that, they put these mysterious blobs of what appeared to be the same green and red cold liquids on EVERY DISH!
Desserts, Lamb , a Stuffed Artichoke starter .. those blobs just kept on making an appearance . It was a cause for concern . Its never a good thing when the chefs obsessed with the same flavours, maybe I'm being harsh or simply missing the point... so I'm calling out to all the diners of Casa Calvet , what are these mysterious blobs ?
So after swerving the Gastronomic fine dining and the old classic with added blobs I found myself at the last minute searching for a restaurant online when I came across Pla . I liked the fact I hadn't come across this place online yet . The more frequently a restaurant is plastered online is not , I repeat NOT necessarily a positive , well certainly not in my experience . I have see many London restaurant guides guiding unfortunate tourists to extremely AVERAGE restaurants whilst failing to mention some of our best , which shouldn't be difficult considering we have so many. Its as if the best ones are kept secret for the locals .
Sorry to Ramble , I am going to get to the point of this post I promise.
So. Pla. As I hadn't pre-planned my route I had to find it the old school way , a hotel tourist map and asking anyone willing to help/send me in the wrong direction/confuse me more . After three hotels receptionists were badgered we finally made our way down some twisting alley in the Gothic quarter to Pla.
The adventure sobered me up and built up a fantastic appetite . As we had no reservation we was seated at the bar while the man that greeted us planned to accommodate . Cosy, Warm , Romantic , buzzing , Im thinking I've made a good choice here .....
Selected the cheapest white on the menu , a Chardonnay which was corked ,which the warm staff promptly and politely replaced , however the next bottle although not corked was way too much a sweet wine to the point that I actually think it may have been more at home on the dessert wine list, but hey maybe I shouldn't have been tight in opting for the lesser expensive wine available. Half an hour passed and we was seated , it was getting late (for English Folk ) to be eating , it was around 11pm and I was pretty tipsy , and ready to indulge.
We ordered our starters , I ordered the special of shredded Duck , and my partner ordered the Monkfish . My Duck. Yum Yum Yum Yum Yummo , Yum , Yes please . The Crispy Duck came sprinkled over a bed of Parmentier fondant potato with Girolles , Nuts and herbs , I'm not sure what the dressing was , my palate isn't as that trained as yet , but what I do know is it tasted amazing. Autumn loveliness. My Partners Monkfish was almost as good.
Mains .. I ordered the Tuna , My partner choose the Beef . My tuna was seared , marinated beautifully and had just enough posh noodle salad to accompany , the tomato sauce on the plate was nice but I wasn't as keen on the Black Olive puree , but hey that's a matter of taste. In this case my partners dish stole the show , beautifully cooked Fillets in a mouth watering Gravy. It was my turn to be jealous of the choice.
I then eat dessert alone , I had the Peach Tarte Tatin , not your classic Tarte Tatin which upset me slightly I must admit .I don't believe such a dessert needs to be 'versioned'. Also The Tarte was served with a very bitter sorbet instead of Cream or Custard which would have been much more welcomed. Not totally bad at all just not what I wanted.
Service was friendly and laid back in such a natural way , not like when the staff have been instructed to take the relaxed approach and it seems hideously forced. Genuine that's the word I am looking for. Pla is genuine and I loved it .
When I return I will order a better bottle of Plonk and choose a different less classic dessert.
When It comes to Pics posted on my Blog , Readers - please note I don't have the most fancy camera , its a Nikon cool pix that cost 50 quid from Argos. It will never do the dishes justice.
Restaurants and your chefs - Please forgive me for bad lighting pics of your beautiful dishes , I don't want to be seen as another annoying bad food photographer and get under your skin.