Which came first?
The chicken or the egg?
Or in this case the Bear on (a) Bike or Espai Egg?
Answer: Bear on Bike. Run by Ella & Alberto, Bear on Bike started out as a market tour and a super club using the Eat With platform. Ella tells me: “We got to the point where we grew big enough that we had to move to the next level or stop doing it. Serendipitously, Caravan Made was looking to hand over this outpost…and we did it.”
The space is made up of a kitchen and workshop at the back and a large open cafe space at the front.
They’ve sublet the cafe to Lucy, who has given the small preparation corner a lick of paint and some blond wooden shelves to soften the space. This is The Deli Kitchen. Deli Kitchen has closed and there is now a new cafe which I haven’t tried. It’s opened during the day and handed over to Espai Egg in the evening for events, cooking classes, supper clubs and the rest.
Lucy and her team have a small changing menu. She mainly steers clear of breakfast bowls with only one (homemade) Granola with yogurt listing (4.2€). There is an avocado toast (with sourdough) but it is a more sophisticated iteration with crushed pumpkin some coriander and a soy aubergine salad (5.2€). I have the Porchetta bagel with a fennel and apple chutney because I’m told the porchetta is made by Alberto at Espai Egg (7.2€). The dish is a pleasure, seemingly just a sandwich but with wonderful details and balanced seasoning.
As I sit there with my breakfast and coffee, Alberto whooshes through the space, kitchen smells trailing vividly behind him. When Ella drifts out in search of coffee, I take the opportunity to ask her about the space. How they became involved with food? What made them jump into such a big project?
“Alberto always cooked. He was cooking at Rooftop Smokehouse for a while. I was dabbling. When I first moved to Barcelona, I was friends with Anna OFlynn who used to own Les Tres a la Cuina, she took me under her wing. Alberto and I met when someone suggested we cook together for a dinner. We went from cooking together to living together, eventually setting up Bear on Bike and after a couple of years, Espai Egg. ”
Not opened long, Espai Egg already has an impressive Calender of Events. Cooking classes by Ella & Alberto others by visiting chefs. Most are food classes but subjects include – a calligraphy class: “It was beautiful and at the end they all kept their brush.” “The other night someone offered a life drawing class with a live model. They only charged 10 Euros so we made no money but we like having accessible prices and offering enriching experiences to our community.”
Besides this, there are Pop Up dinners with biodynamic wines – seasonal, organic and local food, with prices at an astonishingly affordable 35€ or yoga classes followed by a healthy brunch (16€).
The pair’s fully licensed kitchen is available to rent by the hour, providing an economical solution for chefs in need.
Their calendar is such that I want to book 90% of its listings. Ella tells me that they are looking into offering courses on home fermenting, baking and jam making.
The pair, the space – it’s about thinking creatively, inclusively. The chefs that come into their orbit get a boost, the customers are inspired and charmed. Ella & Albert carved out this space and this concept out of a need to find an alternative to working in the intensive slog of a restaurant and just managing to scrape by. I hope that with this new space they will find the balance that all those who work in the restaurant world crave. But I know that they will provide enriching experiences for those who come into their space, in whatever capacity.