I’ve been to Espai Kru. This time I went to Espai Kru as the + 1 for Barcelona’s main guide-book writer. He keeps a blog over at FoodBarcelona.com where he’s been established for a good chunk of time. Two years ago, I blustered in to Barcelona carrying on, on my newly christened blog Foodie in Barcelona before realising that “Hey! I’m not the first one on this moon!” It could have been awkward, the name thing and so on.
Except that Steve is far too cool for that a. And b. he knows so much more than me that there is no competition – he’s already won. Especially with regards to Catalan food, this city and how food is evolving here. (Did I mention he is married to a Catalan woman?) Where as I am still very much at the ‘working it all out’ phase, Steve knows where to go to get the good tripe, there is such a thing as good tripe, I assure you (Freixa Tradicio the satellite restaurant of a 2 Michelin starred Madrid chef Ramón Freixa who has given the reins over to his septuagenarian father).
He is in the seemingly enviable position of having eaten at all the high-end restaurants in this city. And as the principal food writer for Fodor’s and The Rough Guide, restaurants need to woo him- which is kind of like being a rock star and having to sort through all the groupies (legs too long, hair too shiny, waist too thin). Seemingly enviable until I realise that eating ones way through an assortment of rich menus with wine, sometimes twice a day, isn’t for the faint of stomach or a celebration for the liver.
But this is my first time being wooed and the novelty is intact throughout. Friendly waiters, serving us endless glasses of Cava with a swoop and a flourish. Countless morsels in shells, oysters, clams. 4 cuts of tuna – including the almost white fatty otoro.
Espai Kru is even better than I remember it, probably because I am getting to eat dishes that were outside my price range on my previous visit. As well as things I generally don’t order – like steak tartar. At Espai Kru, they do a clever rendition where they make you guess which one is the tartar and which one is the stand in. The stand in is the meaty flesh of a tomato and I hesitate for half a second before identifying the beef.
There are a lot of sushi places in Barcelona, a good portion of which bill themselves as high-end but the fish often leaves me wanting. At Espai Kru, the raw fish really is worth eating, taut, glistening, fresh. The salmon (or as I derogatorily call it “chicken of the sea” because it is equally saturated with drugs) sports crepe paper thin rings of fat- instead of that half a millimetre band that is now commonplace.
Ceviche is omnipresent in the city but at Espai Kru, they serve it in a coconut shell and if you dig right down, there are zingy bits of finger lime.
I have to leave before dessert is served to pick up my children from school (can you believe it!?) so I miss dessert. Steve informs me later that they pulled out all the stops.
The visit reinforces my opinion of Espai Kru – it’s a great restaurant that often falls below the radar. So a good address for visitors that haven’t managed to get a blockbuster table anywhere else. Equally good for us locals who want quality and verve on short notice.
Being wooed is so. much. fun!
My 2014 review of eating at Espai Kru can be found here.
See this and more addresses on my Foodie in Barcelona Map
Carrer de Lleida, 7
08004 Poble Sec