Lecca Baffi is on a corner site between Bailèn and València. Giant marine blue awnings with large white lettering caught my attention driving by it the other day. Then conveniently, Sara Larsson who pens the blog Appetite and Other Stories (best blog name ever, right?) wrote to me to tell me she had organised a tasting for a few of us there. Lecca Baffi is an Italian expression akin to “finger licking good” which translates as “lick the mustache”. Appropriately, there were a couple of Italian men sporting glorious mustaches. And a bearded Belgian who showed us around the place and talked us through the dishes.
Italian in Barcelona comes in two forms (gross generalization to follow) large and inauthentic or genuine and underfunded. For the latter, picture your local Italian corner shop, its lights off to save energy with a few nice dried pastas and a fresh mozzarella hovering to close to its sell by date. Sure you have the Xemei brothers up in Poble Sec and maybe a couple of others.
With Lecca Baffi things are set to change. First with a market / deli selling the usual: wines, olive oils, cheese, pasta made using traditional copper molds (creating ridges for the pasta sauce to stick to). They sell wonderful Italian deli meats: mortadella (sliced crepe paper thin), bresola and smoked turkey. We try a smoked mozarella that is glorious. Pizzas are pulled out of the oven and displayed on the counter for mere minutes before someone comes in and swipes off slices (no coincidence then that the Lecca Baffi folk are close friends with the Can Pizza Prat people). Which I deduce when I spot the same Cremeria Toscana ice cream we had at Can Pizza and ask Mat about it. “Oh, we are all friends.” he smiles.
The cooked food like lasagna or eggplant parmesan is flying out as crowds of people bustle around the counter. The few bar stools inside and the bench outside are solidly occupied. I spot a few disappointed expressions when they realize there is no place to sit.
They need not be disappointed for long because Lecca Baffi have purchased the leases of the two shuttered adjacent shops. One of which is a defunct metalwork factory with a fabulous interior structure. Lecca Baffi will open a moderately priced, genuine, Italian restaurant in the spring of 2017.