I spotted this place driving back from Nomad Roaster’s in Poble Nou. Leka Restaurant looked glamorous from a fast-moving car. It was enough to make me return. My visit coincided auspiciously with the Menūs de Tapas event organized by Estrella beer in which 27 restaurants offer a tapas menu for between 20€ – 25€ for the month of June.
I didn’t get that to begin with. I ordered the menu believing that I would push the food around on my plate if it was inedible. The scope of the menu seemed ambitious ‘Nordic style carpaccio’ at one end and a ‘aromatic mussel cassoulet’ at another. Finishing with a ‘broken Pavlova’. (What? No chocolate coulant in a set menu? I didn’t know you could do that.) And 2 glasses of beer.
The cassava with guacamole – yes, pile it up in a paper cone and I will take it home. The ‘tapa’ of mussels- 12 of the creatures, nestled among them bay leaf and whole slivers of lemon and orange. The beef carpaccio? Dressed with dill, pickled mustard seeds, pickled onions and dollops of smoked cheese. A beautiful accomplished dish.
Each dish has its own style plate. Not a slab of slate in sight. Stoneware for the cassava. Enamel for the ceviche. A black speckled handled pot for the mussels. They take away my cutlery with each dish. I think for 25€ I would just say:
“Listen mate – give the fork a lick and you’re good to go, I’m not about to wash 7 forks and 7 knives for a high roller like you.”
Which speaks volumes as to why I am on this end of things. But also that Leka is offering a level of service more befitting to a high-end restaurant.
There are a lot of people going for the unbeatable Estrella menu. A couple order the menu for themselves and a burger (8.8€) for their young son.
“Do you want to have crisps out of a bag or french fries?” they ask the boy.
“Is that possible?” they ask the waiter. “Do you have crisps?”
“Sure – of course.” He answers obligingly.
The reason I noticed Leka to start with was the design. There is a relevance to this. The furniture is made by Fab Lab, each piece has a bar code on it. Scan the bar code and you get the design of the object, chair – table. Then you buy the material and take it to one of the local workshops and they make it for you. At a fraction of the cost you would expect. Leka feeds the community more than just food.
This is a restaurant that has history and which has evolved through careful deliberation and transformed as it has been passed on from mother to son. Many people have been involved in making this happen, which is why it is noticeable from a fast-moving cart. (A video of the Leka project here.)
Even if you can’t make it down for the Estrella promotion, you won’t be disappointed.
C/ de Badajoz, 65.