Catalan food is not for the squeamish to eat nor for those who don’t know how to cook to prepare. It is similar to French food, in that both groups will eat most animals and their less familiar bits with pleasure. The complex sauces that are the pillars of French cooking are nowhere to be seen on the Catalan plate, instead, it relies on sofrito, cooked down to a glistening brown, whether clinging to a kernel of rice or a rich jus draped on tender sticky pigs trotters. Their love of texture makes me think of the Chinese. The bounce of tripe or the chew of snails is a delight for most.
There are vegetables. Yes. Griddled mostly with a nutty Romesco to drag them through. I love Romesco sauce so much I could swipe a kleenex through it and eat it happily given enough sauce.
Petit Comite is the Barcelona restaurant of Nandu Jubany that elevates Catalan food to fine dining heights. Nandu Jubany has been cooking since he was a teenager when he started in the family restaurant and ascended vertically, accruing restaurants and businesses along his trajectory. He has a Michelin starred restaurant Can Jubany in a darling country house, a catering company, manages a hotel in Andorra and is the adviser for the Majestic Hotel. With all this Gordon Ramsing about, can the food at Petit Comite be any good? When the man himself must have hung up his chef’s whites some time ago.
Surprisingly, the answer is yes. It is good. Quite good. Even to a gringa like me who doesn’t get nostalgic when tucking into a plate of extra-thick Catalan noodles with two types of sausage (26€). I didn’t grow up eating this stuff but I like it just fine in my adult age.
Petit Comite’s “Tapas to share” section is a best-of selection: red shrimp, Escala anchovies, Mallorcan sobrasada, cod bunyols, and cured sausage of Vic, where Can Jubany his Michelin starred restaurant is located.
Starters and mains swing from the frugal but rendered delicious, like pigs ears or an open omelet with sobrassada, to the dear like red shrimp from Blanes. Whoever is in the kitchen watching over what is sent out has been well versed in the Jubany way. Everything that comes out is good. The complimentary chilled Ajo Blanco with house-made duck ham is a memorable way to start off the meal.
The servers wear white chefs jackets, buttoned all the way up. They undertake their work with seriousness without being oppressive. There when you need them and busying themselves when you don’t.
With no menu del dia available, our party of four ordered from the menu, enjoying every dish.
It seems that Nandu Jubany has managed the often impossible for a chef, being prolific without sacrificing quality. At least at this outlet. If you want to get to know and love Catalan food, this is a good place to start.
Passatge de la Concepció, 13