If there is one thing that everyone is able to agree on, it’s that the best food comes from Galicia. Seafood, yes, obviously. Shellfish in particular. But beef too. I’ve yet to visit but it’s on my forever list. In the meantime, I content myself with restaurants like Bicos Barcelona.
Bicos means kisses. Many of them. The kind you give when you enter and leave a room. Bicos is styled to look like a beachfront cottage in the Hamptons. There are starfish printed on the plates. Jute placemats beneath. The tabletops are small round and made of marble. Tucked underneath, like a small child hiding underneath a mother’s pant leg, is a small wooden table. The textures don’t stop there. The floor is wooden, one wall is a deep turquoise, the other cream panelling.
The menu is brief. There is a lot of pulpo on it and something called lacón which turns out to be a homemade ham. We get a media ración of the croquetas with stewed meat (4.5€). The lacón which is drizzled with a mustard sauce and pimenton (9€). The ensaladilla rusa has cockles and seaweed in it (7.5€). The combination of briny and tangy that these two new additions bring to the humdrum ensaladilla is delicious. All ensaladilla should taste like this. And there are small dollops of black fish roe topping some of the salad. Best dish they have.
Or so I think. Bicos knocks the ball out of the park two more times. Once with a stew of beef cheeks on truffled potatoes in a pool of unctuous sauce (16.50€). The beef cheeks are cooked down, shredded and then repacked and cut into cubes. There is almost no chewing required on my part. The stuff practically melts.
There is a man who has been eating alone across from me. He’s already on dessert. Leche frita or fried milk (5€). He’s closing his eyes and waving his fork around at what I can only imagine is the symphony in his mouth.
“Is it really that good?” I ask leaning over.
“It’s so good. Better than the one at Norte.” At the mention of this other small but excellent restaurant, it’s clear I have to order it.
It is all that. All Spanish know their way around a fryer. And fried food, fried shoe soles are delicious. But this. It’s like the best part of a Creme Brule. It’s warm first of all. With a quenelle of vanilla ice cream on top that starts to melt instantly. It’s crispy and soft and comforting all at the same time. Heady with vanilla. It’s a must-come-back-here-again-soon level of good.
Anyone coming here has to order those three stand out dishes. The ensaladialla russa, the beef cheeks and that heavenly dessert. No doubt there is more good stuff where that comes from but with those three, you will be happy as a clam in Galicia.