My hair salon of choice in Barcelona is Wapa’m. Close to AIUENO Japanese. Despite the ridiculous name, it’s a quiet place, that uses Aveda products and serves Illy coffee. My stylist is Brazilian, his name is Marco. He has an endearing lilt when he speaks Spanish and he is a dead ringer for Hank Azaria (in Birdcage). (You do have to ask him to go easy on the layers otherwise your hair may end up looking like the Spanish steps).
Wapa’m is just around the corner from Can Kenji and its new sister restaurant AIUEnO which means every time I go to the former, I can have a nice lunch.
For me, the best kind of restaurant openings are second restaurant openings. For many reasons. A first restaurant is (generally) a fuzzy idea that takes on clear demarcation after its opening (usually). Then either it bumps along the road for a bit before expiring or it finds it’s stride and customers to love it. Even so – there are many things that will become apparent, lots of mistakes, things that they would do differently but also different ideas that have come from having a restaurant and knowing how it actually works.
So when a small independent restaurant that has found success opens a second, it’s happy days. You, the punter are likely to get an even better package and chances are, the kitchen will be better to work in for the staff now that they know where to put the fridges and so on.
AIUEnO Japanese is right across the street from Can Kenji. It’s brighter, clad in blond wood, and more elegant. The space is a fun mix of levels; a couple of bar stools in the front, a large table one level down and a narrow galley way across from the sushi bar and in front of the kitchen at the back. The galley way is so narrow, that our slip of a waitress still brushes us as she glides up and down.
AIUEnO Japanese does not have a website, Facebook page and there is no mention of it on Can Kenji’s website. So they may well still be in their soft opening stage. I say this because although the restaurant is full for lunch on a Tuesday (and everyone there has called ahead to make a booking), there are only two waiters, one sushi chef and two cooks in the kitchen – one of whom is ping-ponging between washing dishes and sending out desserts. (Also, having been in charge of obtaining health and safety certifications for restaurants in London – I don’t get how the cutting board thing works here? In the UK it’s blue for fish, red for raw meat, yellow for cooked meat and so on. At AIUEnO they just had various sized red chopping boards?)
Despite the frugal number of staff, at no point do I wait for any of my 6 (small) courses from the afternoon menu (€19.80 without drinks).
And they are delicious dishes. A spoonful of mackerel pate with breadsticks; a bundle of vegetables wrapped in some cucumber; tofu balls littered with hijiki seaweed with a sliver of exquisite shiitake tempura in a Tentsuyu broth; beef with teriyaki sauce; sushi and dessert.
The desserts are probably the only place I think AIUEnO fails. As in Can Kenji, there is no attempt to be interesting – it’s green tea ice cream, fruit salad, a slice of banana bread. Utterly boring which the rest of the meal is not.
See this and more addresses on my Foodie in Barcelona Map
AIUEnO on Twitter
Tel. 933 283 711
The address in the article is NOT correct, it is Carrer Rosello 296 and not 154.