Honest Greens has opened in Barcelona in the heart of the city on the busy Rambla Catalunya. The fifth Honest Greens (the first four are in Madrid) to be opened by Final Table contestant, Benjamin Bensoussan who prior to opening worked at Mugaritz and El Celler de Can Roca.
It’s a no brainer really opening- a fast, affordable vegetable-forward concept. Until now, Barcelona has been served primarily by Teresa Carles and her Flax & Kale group. With En Compania de Lobos entering the market and finding a captive audience with The Green Spot. And Xavier Pellicier occupying the high end.
Vegetarian / Flexitarian food sells. It could save the planet, it protects us from Cancer & Diabetes, it photographs well and so many of us need to feed the Instagram machine. Beyond that – it eats well. Give me a plate of many textured vegetables, some roasted, some raw, a tousle of green leaves dressed diligently to order, the way they do at Honest Greens and I will be satisfied and smug that I’ve knocked through my 5 a day in a single seating.
Honest Greens is a two-floored affair that goes from street, to outdoor seating to indoor space seamlessly and seemingly without doors. The space is flooded with natural light from above and filled with green. Green ferns dangling the length of the bar where you line up to give your order, green hanging from the walls and a large tree in the stairwell with those many limbed plants that live from the moisture in the air.
The concept is a customizable meal, the main part of which is almost exclusively plant-sourced. You start with one of two bases: the Market Plates (which come with a large wedge of sourdough) and Garden Bowls (both 6.90€). To this, you can add protein, animal or not, falafel, tofu or free-range chicken for 4.50€. Then there are further vegetarian accompaniments to add on for 2.50€: like the hummus of the week or the sweet potato with plant-based crème Fraiche. The recommendation is to order the base plate and 2-3 accompaniments. There are a selection of agua frescas sloshing in perpetuity against their containers that are a refreshing alternative to juice, although there are also juices. Once you give your order, you are given a twinkling electric puck with which they will locate you and deliver your food. A small delight in itself because all the servers are ludicrously good looking and fresh-skinned, a walking embodiment of eating well, although most likely it has more to do with their youth and genetics but I am compelled all the same.
Despite, it’s recent arrival, it is already much loved and the thick line of people makes me hesitate about dipping back in for dessert. Which I definitely want. But someone clever has taken a page out of the McDonald’s playbook and coffee and dessert are available at the front, in a separate section. It’s a matcha slice with passion fruit slipping off and a pot of chia with many shades of purple.
BB is in the middle of the open kitchen.
“Hi!” I beam and extend my hand to shake his. (A consequence of being on TV, I know him but he doesn’t know me.) “Are you surprised by all these people?” I ask him.
“This, this is nothing, in Madrid we would be serving double this. We have the staff, we are ready.”
I look behind him. Indeed, the kitchen has more members of staff than I have ever seen in Barcelona. The thing about plant-based food is it takes quite a lot of prep and planning, compared to say, slapping a pork chop in a pan and calling it lunch. Despite this, everyone is waking up to the global need for consuming more food of plant origin for general health, gut health, planet health and I would hazard a guess that Honest Greens will mark a turning point for Barcelona. *
*I was a guest of Honest Greens. However my review is my honest (no pun intended) experience of it.