Monday, November 23, 2009


went to BCN on a pilgrimage to Commerc 24, the hot, contemporary tapas restaurant run by ex-Adria chef Carles Abelan. It's perfectly located in the less salubrious, but up-and-coming area of El Born. I think there is an unwritten law that seems to state that the best places are never in the 'best' areas. There's something about the integrity of a place that can't afford the best location. The food has to be good, to get people to come there. Anyway we couldn't get in. So had to shelve it for another day. In the mean time I managed to go to this place which was more old-school and very charming for it. Counter displays of raw ingredients which got passed back to the kitchen through a hatch for cooking and then delivered to you. The place was slick,busy and looked the part. Staff were nicely kitted out in white jackets and attitude; clearly from the school of 'bark and don't smile' which i'm actually begining to get used to. I've stopped taking it personally as it seems to be an 'across-the-board' policy. I orderd a pile of oyster mushrooms and some croquetas. Mushrooms were greasy and underseasoned with burnt flecks of something...maybe garlic....and lacked that vital acidity. No lemon/wine/sharp herb to lift them. I've come to the conclusion that the best way to cook mushrooms is to effectively steam them in an emulsion which reduces to become a dressing lifted by a squeeze or squirt of chosen acid. Season. Add herb. Done. I keep trying the croquetas in the vain hope that one day I'll find one that dosen't taste like wallpaper paste. I guess i'll have to keep trying....Spain has some nice food...but there's a lot of average stuff too.

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