THIS RESTAURANT HAS CLOSED. (UPDATE 2021)
I’m excited about Bicnic. It could be a too large restaurant but because of the way it has been designed by Toormix studio, wrapped around a wall like a horseshoe, you don’t realise initially. That and there are a lot of different areas. There is a bar area by the entrance. With an enormous mirror scrawled with bits of the menu that hangs at an angle off the wall. Bar stools sit in front of it. Then behind that there is a mixture of tables and wall benches.
There is a menu del dia. Of course there is but the a la carte menu has so many tantalising options that Rob and I don’t hesitate in going with the latter. There are bravas (5.20€) in Betlem style. Betlem is the restaurant next door, their sister restaurant and the first one to open. The bravas style come with an almost Romesco like sauce, gritty with nuts and with the mayonnaise notably absent.
Then there is a pâté (Pate Picnic 9.90€) I have to have. I don’t know about you but I love liver. Keep your steaks and stews and give me the offal. Well, this bit of offal at least. It comes as two thick slices, accompanied by not enough thin slices of Yellow Bakery bread. (We ask for more and are given it without charge.) It’s coarse and fatty and comes with pickled cauliflower and cucumber. The acid is a welcome guest on this plate but also an unusual one. Acid is not particularly craved after in this food. To serve a wedge of lemon with fish is to suggest the fish is not as fresh as it should be. But you know: SALT ACID FAT HEAT – acid makes most things better. So Yay! Small on the spot dance that this is finally happening here.
There is a tartar de vaca vieja (8.90€). Or old cow tartar. As a bit of an old cow myself, I can vouch that that’s where the personality is. We have it as a starter, as a main it comes in a severed bone. Both have smoked eel folded through and capers to perk the whole thing up.
A pork pita (13.50€) comes with daubes of eggplant cream and in between a flaky fatty pastry that is nothing short of dreamy. When I ask what manna this pita bread is, the waiter shrugs and tells me it’s just plain old pita. Except it’s not.And then, not because I am hungry but because I am positively surprised by what has transpired so far, I order another dish. The lentils in broth with foie. It comes in a skillet. Puy lentils on the verge of falling apart but not yet. One pickled guindilla pepper that Rob and I fight over. Because again, having that spot of acid to cut through the richness is always a good idea.
We order dessert. Thankfully. Because to miss it would have been a food tragedy. It’s a peanut butter biscuit (6.90€). Talk about underselling. What comes is a peanut butter ice cream, enrobed in a thick chocolate crust (too thick to cut with a knife but that’s what hands are for). There’s a squirt of cream and a chocolate truffle with a peanut center.
Our lunch comes to under 40€ each with a couple of beers each.