Last week I took the high ground with regards to invitations. This week – I’m totally over it.
I’m kidding. Kind of. (As long as everything is transparent, who am I to take the confetti away from their parade?)
I arrive at Bar Matis to see Steve (foodbarcelona.com), upon whose copyright I almost infringed when I came stumbling into the city, already sitting at the table. Jyoti from Belle Barcelone, a lacto vegetarian who challenges all the city’s top chefs to come up with menus she can eat. Jessica from Barcelona Blond. And Ariadna who is one of the writers over at Dolce City.
We are offered a selection of plates; thin slices of Morcilla sausage (€4.95), a plate of meaty green and black olives (€3.95), a bonbon of tomato and cheese (€1.95) – like the Adria spheriphied olive but so much better, potatoes – not with the brava sauce but spicy all the same (€3.95), calamari ceviche (€8.50), Escalivada tartar (€6.20), Parellada rice (€8.50) and meatballs served in a tiny pot (€7.45).
Our meal is on the house this evening but I find the pricing attractive. We are just off the Grand Cathedral and this isn’t a kitchen that is opportunistically flogging frozen croquetas. In fact, Bar Matis has a sister restaurant with a Michelin star (restaurant Capritx). I realise that saying that is a little like driving an average car with a sticker that says “My other car is a Porsche” Jokes aside, the chef is part of the Slow Food Barcelona movement and it just takes a glance at him to reassure you that he is nothing but serious about what he is doing here (in the nice clean open kitchen – another bonus).
My favourite bits are the simple things, the morcilla, the escalivada – with the exception of the bon bon that is just delicious. The bread is fluffy and crusty and you will want it to scoop up sauces and such. Desserts are decidedly different for Barcelona – a deconstructed After Eight and a cold sweet passion fruit soup. Both are sweet, your sweet tooth will do a jiggy dance, if you like me like things to be just sweet – get a plate of cheese to finish.
So why is the place just ticking by on a Thursday night when it should be hopping? I think it’s because Bar Matis looks like it’s the foyer of a cinema, possibly the Curzon (in London). They share a space with the COAC. There is too much light and a lot of hard surfaces for it to bounce off of. I feel like I should be ordering a giant soda with a vat of mixed sweet and salty popcorn.
Shake that feeling off I say. You will be hard pressed to get such good quality in relation to prices in this area and you don’t have to wait, they will probably always have a table for you and can easily accommodate large groups.
See this and find more addresses on my Foodie in Barcelona Map
Placa Nova 5
El Barri Gotic