Cuina d’en Garriga opened up a darling snack bar right next door to their restaurant / deli. Named El Sifo d’en Garriga.
Garriga is the family name of Helena, one of the owners along with her husband Oliver Guilland. The ‘sipho’ is a common sight in places that serve vermouth but has a special relevance in Helena’s history. Her great-grandfather discovered it in Paris and brought the concept over to Girona where he opened a factory which produced them.
The place is a delight from the moment you wrap your hand around the sausage-shaped door handles. The floor is concrete. There is a prep station at the front where the majority of your food is being discreetly prepared, the fridge units below the cook are wood clad so that I only register what they are when I hear the thick clunk it makes upon being closed.
It’s not a place to be eating alone. (I am alone.) There are wooden boards of iberico meats to share (14). Same for cheeses (14). Salads. Juices and sandwiches. I have a vinegary potato salad with meaty Cantabrian anchovies, 2 phenomenal black olives and a few slivers of red onion all mussed about with a good helping of chives (6.5). Then a mollette (an Andalusian flatbread, soft and sweet) filled with some thinly sliced cooked pork (5.5). A lemon cream with biscuits for dessert. It’s a nothing-to-hide smear of yellow cream in a little dish, dressed with biscuit crumbs, lime zest and a few slices of kumquat (4.5). It is suck in your cheeks sour and definitely delicious.
My lunch is minimalist and for the most part, small portioned. It relies on the ingredients and a light touch.
Apropos, I was reading in Claudia Roden’s: The Food of Spain that the fat of the Jamón Ibéric de Bellota has high levels of oleic acid (good) a result of the animal’s acorn diet. The unsaturated fat which lowers levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol and raises levels of ‘good’ cholesterol. Meanwhile I was listening to a program on Cheese on the Radio 4 Food Programme (I lead an exciting life as you can see) and there was discussion of the French billionaire’s Emmanuel Besnier detrimental effect on cheese & the diverse bacteria that make them. The Lactalis laboratory ensures all the cheeses (you will know these brands as President Brie and Galbani Mozzarella among a long list of others) taste identical, like Coca Cola and similar to Coca Cola in nutrition.
My point being: there is (sadly) a place for industrialised, nutrition negative, bland flavoured food but (happily) El Sifo is not one of them.
Go with friends.