Capet is a little fish that lives in the Mediterranean sea. It’s also slang for having a big head because it means “little head”. And, it’s the name of a Catalan restaurant in the Gothic which serves Catalan food with classical French influences. Meaning you will find shiny reductions to accompany meat dishes. And broths, like the heady one of Cep hat was poured over my coddled egg.
Luckily, you don’t have to contend with the critical gaze of a classical French server. Instead, there is Nuria, one half of the team alongside Armando in the kitchen. Armando is originally from Venezuela but has done his time in the well-known kitchens of Barcelona.
Perhaps it’s his origin or the distance from it that explains some of the touches in the dishes. For example, Mackerel (15.20€) is on the menu. But at Capet it’s combined with unusual things. Like a shaving of horseradish. Sure, mackerel and horseradish are an ideal combination but when was the last time you encountered it here? In 6 years here that is a total of 0 for me.
There is a fig salad (12.5€) with the curly endive leaves that are usually paired with Xato. Except at Capet the sweetness of the figs, plays out against the bitter leaves and then house-made ricotta just hums alongside happily. Pine nuts in there for contrast. And anyway when are pine nuts anything but a good idea.
There is a 63°C egg (12.8€). Placed on a folded nest of green chard with an unctuous Cep broth poured over it at the table. As good as it gets you think. That is until you start to scourge around in the shallow bowl, and uncover some squares of pickled chard that ping dramatically in your mouth.
Natasha and I share a shallow dish of Butifarra de Perol rice (18.80€) for one. It’s more than enough for two, as I find is always the case, but at Capet there is no minimum two-person order. The shallowness of the dish means there is plenty of crunchy rice. It’s a salty dish, almost tipping over into too salty territory.
A lemon pie finishes off our meal. A shard of pastry with neatly pipped dollops of meringue and lemon curd. The mounds of meringue have been burnished brown with a blow torch.
Two ladies splitting lunch and our bill comes to just under 40€. (37.5€) Which is more than reasonable for the meal we’ve had. Anywhere else but in Barcelona. Here the hunt is always on for a cheap lunch. It’s not even a hunt – just, throw a stone from where you are standing and you will find a menu.
Meaning that despite the food being thoughtful, seasonal and with that “toque de something especial“, we’ve got the place to ourselves. Which is fine by me, I like dedicated attention, but probably hard on their books.
Their first location, Petit Capet up in Gracia, is also worth a visit.