A Pluma is a Gourmet Chicken restaurant by chef Eugeni de Diego.
A Pluma is not your average rotisserie shop. For starters, there are an awful lot of chefs and waiters allocated to the smallest of kitchens and what can’t be more than 15 seats inside and another 10 outside. Plus, since it’s a rotisserie shop, presumably most of the work is being handled by the large Josper, a Catalan made rotisserie oven.
The sides are worth a visit alone, make sure to order the tomato salad.
Their menu is short. Rotisserie chicken with curry sauce or mole or plain. Fried chicken. A few sides, like tomato salad. One is carried past me onto its final destination. Made up of large wedges of peeled tomato with a cluster of thinly sliced white onion on top and a pool of olive oil. A salad in other words, that relies on the tomatoes being extraordinary as there is nothing else on the plate.
I am intrigued by the eggplant miso, served chilled, it is smoky smooth flesh napped in a delicate white miso sauce. It’s half a chicken with both the curry and the mole for me. The curry is the sauce I prefer. Within moments discard the cutlery and pick at the flesh with my fingers. The meat parts effortlessly from the bones and the cartilage that connects the bones have disintegrated. There is a strong flavour of rosemary but also thyme and laurel along with some secret ingredients the waiter tells me.
I ask about the chicken, Catalan raised and fed on 70% grain diet. Roasted for 2 hours using vegetal coals.
Chef Diego runs A Pluma with seriousness and professionalism usually reserved for high-end dining.
Chef Eugeni de Diego is running the kitchen with a seriousness usually applicable for those with a Michelin star. As the ex-boss at Ferran Adria’s Bulli Lab, this is understandable. He has an excel paper in front of him, densely printed and highlighted in different colours. It seems to be the takeaway orders for the day. At many intervals during my meal there are elegant ladies, who don’t take off their sunglasses inside, placing orders. The men that come tend to eat at the restaurant.
Outside one such lady who had been lunching alone and who has managed to eat her half a chicken with a knife and fork, is enjoying two ice cream sandwiches. I am tempted, but I am more tempted by the roast pineapple an updated version of the one served at Inopia when Ferran Adria’s was involved before it became Lolita. A quarter of sweet pineapple, lacking the usual aggressive bite, dressed with lemon zest, honey, and crushed mint candy.
Is it the best roast chicken I’ve had? It’s good but what I would come back for are the sides. One of each and the pineapple and the ice cream sandwich to finish. And you don’t have to trek up to the posh side of Barcelona, they’ve already opened one in the Raval and they have a third in the works.