Remember that episode in Sex & the City where Samantha tries and fails to get membership at Soho House before sneaking in, being discovered and subsequently thrown out? Well Soho house is coming to Barcelona, opening soon I believe since they are already asking around for rate card prices. In the meantime One Ocean Club has opened at the Marina in Port Vell.
To go you have to be a member. I am not but I am friends with someone who is. It goes something like this: you drive up to the barrier in a shiny car, give your name, guard goes in and makes a call. The barrier goes up or it doesn’t.
We arrive at 8 on a Saturday with no reservation to be told there are no tables. “Really? No tables?” we ask bemused, scanning the empty room. The hostess falters, glances at the car my friend drove up in and decides maybe we can sit outside on the terrace.
One Ocean Club is pretty.
The inside reminds me of Hakkasan back when it first opened and it took your breath away interior design wise. The materials are rich, the palette oscillating between greens and turquoise blues supported by cascading plants.
Outside, sturdy white metal patio furniture with a spiraling motif. Heat lamps above and mobile fireplaces being rolled about to the few occupied tables.
A man in a tailored suit with an earpiece brings our menu.
The menu is written for a select target of people who can not agree on what to eat for dinner and have either never known or have unlearned the art of compromise due to existing or acquired affluence. Therefore you can order: sushi, or suckling pig, or pasta, or a burger. And should you be concerned, they have “gluten-free soy sauce” available. One restaurant, countless cuisines.
The prices are pretty competitive: Salmon Osomaki 4€, Salmon tartar 16€ for a generous albeit too sweet portion, Calamari a la plancha 19.50€. Desserts come in at around 6€. And I am sitting outside on the terrace, eye level with gently bobbing yachts being served by a man with an earpiece who has noticed I am starting to feel the chill and has summoned over the fireplace on wheels.
As we leave, the place starts to animate a little. There is an unexplainable table of 8 young French women, bright lipstick, steam ironed hair. Inside, lots of older people, the female part of which has their hair styled for them. An older guy in a suit at the bar with what looks to be his original wife.
The kitchen has more than 10 people who I can see and they all seem a bit frantic, which doesn’t surprise me given the ambitious stretch of the menu.
There is certainly a niche for this kind of thing in Barcelona and maybe this signals that the city is changing from a down to earth city that doesn’t care which edition of Louis Vuitton bag you sport to one that does. If so, pity. I am generally not a fan of clubs, I don’t like being put in a box and avoid consigning myself willingly to one. Although the food at One Ocean Club is good and the prices are acceptable – it’s not exciting.
To go back to Hakkasan, when it opened in London in 2001, I fought my way past the impossible reservations team not to eat where the beautiful people were but because the food was phenomenal and delicious and the Christian Liagre designed space was magical and because besides Danny Meyer – Alan Yau is someone I greatly admire.
Regardless – right now One Ocean Club has usurped all it’s competitors, that lobby restaurant at the W (Wave I think it’s called?) left behind in the proverbial dust.
One Ocean Club
Moll de la Barceloneta 1