Extra Bar is a fitting name for this place. It is mainly a bar with a little something extra to it. In the form of a daily changing menu of platillos: little plates made for sharing. No more than 15 seats, all bar height, some facing the wall, some into the kitchen and some communal style. Extra Bar Gracia comes from the people behind La Pubilla and follows a growing trend in Barcelona for dinky gastro bar concepts. Small, agile, adjustable places reflecting seasons and giving autonomy to the people cooking or choosing the wine.
I say people. There are only two. Marc, the sommelier cum waiter, and Richie in the kitchen. Both deal with soiled plates. At intervals, there is an almighty clattering of plates as the pair unload the dishes with speed, slotting everything into their designated places.
Marc takes the orders and gives advice on wine choices and then clips the orders to the extractor hood with a magnet for Richie to work through. He waits for a few to collect before finding and ticking off repeating plates – so he fires out 4 orders of patatas bravas to 3 different tables.
There is a makeshift pass in front of the two beer taps. A folded orange micro cloth marks the spot and serves to stop the dishes from slipping off in the rush. At some point, ensaladilla rusa languishes on the “pass”. I notice the chef glance at it. Once. Twice. The third time he just walks it over the short distance to its destination.
It’s a delicate balance service split between people, with both of them having to be hyper-aware and constantly taking initiatives to keep the whole thing moving along in a timely manner.
Not that anyone eating here is in a hurry. It’s a locals locale with more than half the guests referring to Marc by his name. Dishes are varied between cold things ready to plate up, like shrimp tartar to things cooked a la minute – battered squid or razor clams seared until they firm up.
“Two people, is that the format or are you down one today?” I ask Marc as I pay the incredibly good value lunch, three dishes, and a beer and I haven’t even managed to get to 20€.
“Format?” Marc finds my question amusing. No, they are not down. They are it. Although on Friday and Saturday evenings they have a third person.
I highly recommend, particularly for lunch Saturday which is the only lunchtime slot there is. In the evening be prepared to wait. No reservations.