I’m having lunch at Can Cisa. I want to be having lunch at Bar Brutal but they are only opened for dinner. David, the manager, lets me have a poke around Bar Brutal and take some pictures.
The florist (They have a florist! That on its own communicates intent and positioning), is flitting about, tending to her flower arrangements, large and small. She sees me with my camera. “Take a picture of that table with those flowers.” she points out.
I cross paths with the chef a few times and watch as he breaks down a large fish into serving portions. He moves expeditiously, a constant crease in his brow. My chirpy “hola” is met with a curt nod of acknowledgment. I’ve worked with this kind of chef, doesn’t suffer fools gladly but has a lot of time for his craft.
In a city overflowing with bargain lunch deals, Casa Cisa chooses to go with a bread basket, a warm dish, and a coffee (from Magnifico roasters) for 12€. There is only one option per day, today it’s a blanquette de veu. (A blanquette is a pale meat stew typically served with rice.)
I am not a meat person (I keep saying it) because meat is (now) a factory produced commodity but in the absence of choice, I submit. I am surprised by the flavour of it all (happily because I’m paying 12€ for it) surprised that there are so many nuances in that beige sauce draped on tender meat.
He recommends an Italian red to go with my lunch (wine is not included in the lunch price), a varietal I don’t know which isn’t hard as the Italians have the most grape varietals in Europe. The wine is natural which means the smell of it is quite distinct. I take a sip and remark on its sourness.
“The acidity?” Marco prompts (“I say tomato you say tomatoe”) – launching into an animated talk about natural wine which is “alive.” The wines we generally consume are preserved with sulfites (the same thing that goes into ham slices or sausages to keep them pink) and not generally suitable for vegetarians as they use casein (milk product), albumin (egg white), gelatin, or isinglass (fish bladders) to clarify it.
There is no dessert.
I linger for a while. Enjoying the music: David Bowie, Pink Floyd – someone has spent time on the playlist. There are 4 men at the far end of the table. A local who is entertaining some Brits on a business trip, they are the type of men for whom small talk consists of exchanging Marathon running stories. They are letting Marco choose the wine from them and picking at charcuterie and cheese boards. At the bar there is a young couple, a glass of wine each, sharing a blanquette between them.
The limited menu doesn’t make it a viable lunch destination but if once you start to taste the wines and hear their stories you feel peckish, the meat / cheese boards come in handy. And If you want something more, there is always the dish of the day.