Sometimes my children do this annoying thing where they cover their ears and make noise to block out what I’m saying. They don’t want to hear it. I try to speak louder but eventually, I just give up and walk away. That’s me right now. The pandemic numbers leap and double in Europe, Spain at the forefront, and I don’t want to hear of it. I want to binge on levity and brush it away.
Terraces are essential to this blatant plan of denial. On terraces, there is always a breeze circulating, particularly now that it’s fall. Napkins flutter up and away, brown leaves chase each other around empty squares.
I will choose a terrace over an indoor situation even if all I can get is a bag of chips. Luckily for some, the local authorities have been swifter than typical in reacting to the death knells of restaurants. Granting permits for outdoor tables.
I think Monocrom Wine always came with a terrace, located on the quiet Plaça de Cardona in Gracia.
Natural wine features heavily on this menu. And while I’ve sipped my way past a few unpleasant barnyard aromas in the name of biodynamic organic and so on. Monocrom’s house red wine is fresh, acidic and fruity. It suits the freshness of being outdoors just as much as the food.
The food is simple to throw together but well thought out before kind of fare. A deconstructed escalivada, the red peppers allowed to go so dark that the flesh is paper-thin and dark brown in a pool of glossy olive oil with a translucent petal of sweet onion. Burrata smeared out to the sides of the plate with basil and dill pushed into it. Oven roast beetroot puckered in the corners and hazelnuts. Our bao comes stuffed with a sliver of meat enrobed in a heel of fat. The fat is unctuous but there is still too much of it for either of us to enjoy.
There are potted things speaking to a menu conceived with swiftness and ease of delivery in mind. Things like a brandade of cod or an acidic mackerel with burnished slices of pain de vidre. The same one they’ve used fresh in the pan con tomate we have to have. Pan con tomate is one of those inventions that I never tire of.
We share a slice of flourless chocolate cake with a dollop of cream flung half on the cake. It’s a joy after the salt and the acid we’ve enjoyed. It’s not asking for too much engagement though I note that Monocrom has splurged for good chocolate. It’s the little black dress of desserts. Or maybe in these times, the tracksuit bottoms that soothe during interminable zoom meetings.