This is what I think: people of Barcelona eat out an incredible amount. With 3 hours for siesta being observed by all but the biggest most visible shops, they have the time. They do it with other people, big – small, young – old; I am always marvelling at the human mikado that can be lunch. They are a gregarious bunch and I see them all at different points of their lives, living it, that moment – being present. It’s pretty fantastic.
There are a lot of places to eat at, a jumble like my children’s overturned toy boxes. Choice – sure but where to begin? And how to avoid the trap that is specific to Barcelona – a well designed shop with a fumbling kitchen or else missing the grungy hole with spectacular food? Oh and what if I don’t want jamón?
It’s a feat to untangle this scene but every now and then I hit gold and think: “Yes, I’m getting somewhere!” Les Tres a la Cuina is one such place. In one of my favourite neighborhoods, Gracia, it’s a small shop. Some bar stools around a high communal table at the entrance and bench seating closer to the kitchen.
Anna is in the kitchen most days. Irish from Cork with a soft spot for Dennis Cotter recipes and all the Ottolenghi cookbooks on her shelf. She started out as a jewelery designer. Before being seized by the urge to work for Bubo, before Bubo exploded. Her lack of experience? A detail. She did it, she did it really well and went on to manage one of the shops before starting Les Tres La Cuina with a partner. Her new place is nothing like Bubo it’s more like the fresh, seasonal, vibrant food of Cotter, Ottolenghi, Slater. The place has something that a lot of places of second-time-down-the-career-path-and-decided-to-go-into-the-kitchen places have, an ability to surprise you in the details at their expense. Using nice eggs for brunch, serving coffee from El Magnifico standing stalks of celery in a giant Kilner jar so the leaves are lush and succulent.
Such a special place, with food you want to eat. Opened daily until 6pm.
Les Tres a La Cuina
C/ Sant Lluís, 35,
T. 931 05 49 47