Espai Kru, Modern Fish Restaurant, Poble Sec

Espai Kru

We’ve had three consecutive weekends of friends visiting. After 7 months in Barcelona, we know where to take visitors.  Still, Easter weekend proved a challenge, the city was practically boiling over with visitors and yet many places were closed.  Including the crown jewels in the Albert Adria crown (Tickets, Pakta, 41º Experience & Bodega 1900). Which left the places without the pictures on the Bcn 5.0 website – the ones missing personalised social media buttons; Rias de Galicias (fish restaurant), Espai Kru (modern fish with emphasis on raw fish & seafood), Casa de Tapes.  Long winded introduction – true – but I am fascinated by the marketing.  (Why do the latter 3 fall in a different category with less promotion than the former?)

Bread with tomato, croquetas, superlative grapefruit juice, Espai Kru

On my last visit to Pakta, the waitress had enthusiastically recommended Espai Kru to me: a la carte instead of Prix Fix, laid back with delicious food. Espai Kru it was, a table for two, for lunch on Saturday. And then we got there.  We climbed the stairs up to the first floor where we were confronted with a big, glossy poster advertising a Range Rover. Martini branding in Bodega 1900 – it works – but Range Rover? And then there was the music. 3 songs in we started wondering if the staff had left their own music playing by accident?  I asked our waitress, Anna (the best waitress I’ve had in 10 years) if what we were listening to was the restaurant playlist (tunes like Bonny M’s Sunny, September from Earth Wind and Fire, Chaka Khan – Ain’t Nobody) – perplexed she answered yes.

Deep Fried Turbot / Rodaballo Frito

After a glass of the fantastic Blue Fin Mestres Cava it all started to make sense, the poster, the music, the friendly waitress. What is often missing in these big name restaurants is silliness, humor, getting some things wrong – like having a big Range Rover poster to greet guests.

We had some incredible dishes – a wonderfully presented ceviche of red mullet, presented whole with its body sliced into slivers and marinated in vivid lime and cilantro.  When Anna saw us hesitate, trying to do the math while ordering she helpfully arranged (with no judgment – something I have noticed many a time in Barcelona) for us to have say 1/2 a dish.  So normally the tuna belly with miso and radish would cost €18.00 but we had half a portion so it worked out at €9.00.  Similarly, she insisted we try the marinated pineapple but we were thinking “Yeah?  Really?  How is that going to be worth €8.00?”  so she gave us 0.33% of a portion which worked out at €2.64 (I’m happy Anna insisted).

Espai Kru

As with most of Albert Adria’s places, the desserts are out of this world. We ordered (again directed by Anna) Torrija with turrón ice cream.  Torrija is French Toast.  We weren’t expecting to be wowed by something so simple.  But. It. Was. Incredible – Sublime – Insane.  A light brioche on the inside with parts of it soft like custard, on the outside it was toasted and covered in caremelised sugar like on a crema catalana.  And the turrón ice cream, so smooth.

We had such a wonderful afternoon.  Four hours passed in a giggle.  The food was outstanding and there were only two other tables besides our own so it was relaxed and so much fun.  I recommend – if ever you can’t get into the blockbuster Albert Adria places, try Espai Kru.  It’s true that it is not as strong a concept as some of the more famous ones but it is exceedingly good.

Espai Kru
Carrer Lleida, 7
08004 Poble Sec

Comments

  1. says

    Dear Suzy, I love your blog for not only do you go to interesting places, you write well as well. I tried unsuccessfully for 4 nights in a row to get us table at Tickets for our upcoming trip to Barcelona so was thinking of where else to go. I read this and thought we should give this a go. We have eaten at Hisop, Gaig, Alkimia, Commerc 24, Cinc Sentits, but since the kids have come along we find we don’t have the stamina for long tasting menus anymore. Abac had been on my list but I don’t think we could sit through it. This sounds a good alternative. Any other suggestions for places you have been to recently that stick in your mind?

    • Suzy says

      Hi there – well I guess it depends how old your kids are? I strongly recommend Difrutar ( http://ca.disfrutarbarcelona.com/) It’s the entire El Bulli team minus the Adrias and it is exciting, current while still retaining that wow factor you get at Tickets.
      I too have been going through a phase (it’s lasting over a year now) where I generally can’t be bothered to sit through three + hours of hushed eating where I have to feign amazement and adoration as each new dish is presented to me.

      • says

        hey there thanks for getting back to me. My mum is coming with us and will be baby sitting, so in the evening we will be without children! A rare luxury to eat a meal uninterrupted. Still, though I can’t face a long meal. I was wondering about Disfrutar but didn’t didn’t want to go to a place that was like Tickets, but not Tickets. If it is doing it’s own thing then that would be good. I assume they change the menu often as there was not much detail about the menu on the website..If you had to pick Espai Kru or Disfrutar?

        • Suzy says

          Moms are great. Espai Kru is not a concept – it’s delicious food for sure. Disfrutar is not like Tickets. Tickets is weird and circus like (in a good way). Disfutar is a grown up beautiful place. The dishes are not alike either. I would say there is more comedy in Tickets. I would pick Disfrutar.
          You also have the other Adria restaurants – like Pakta (Nikkei cuisine) but it is a menu and long eating or there is Ninjo Viejo which is Mexican. But I would still pick Disfrutar.

          • curious eater says

            with such a strong vote of confidence from you I shall definitely look into incorporating it into our week. Thanks! Have you ever been to Bohemic?

          • Suzy says

            I haven’t, have you? I read the NYT review and I have been meaning to go.

            Espai Kru has some wacky sponsorship going on – I mention that in my review but just keep it in mind when you are faced with a two story poster of a…I think it was a Land Rover?

  2. curious eater says

    I have not been, have always wanted to especially after looking at all the photos on entcandisimos Flickr. The chef Mandu seems quite approachable and emailed me back. It would seem that he has felt it necessary to change his style as what he was doing wasn’t apprciated locally, despite the NY times article.
    Will look out for the Land Rover! At least it wasn’t a Range Rover..

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