An unusual thing happened to me at Toma-Ya Gracia, I got it wrong.
Usually, I step into a place and I instantly get a feeling of how the meal will play out. On this day, my friend and I had been close to Kai Xuan and their wonderful lunch time buffet but I suggested we drive up to Gracia and try Toma-Ya instead.
When we arrived, we were asked to tick our selection on a paper menu and hand it in at the bar, pay our bill and then our food would be brought to our table.
I generally don’t associate the “tick your menu” method with great food.
I think twice before ordering the ceviche. Will it be fresh? With a fill in paper menu, I expect someone to be cooking by numbers in the kitchen.
I could not be more wrong. About everything. Toma-Ya is a two people affair: Roxana at the front and her partner in the kitchen. She is efficient at bringing out drinks and managing the fluctuations of business and lulls. She is generous with her smiles.
We order a miso soup because we are ravenous (€3.5). Our main order comes out quickly. My ceviche (€8.8) is the biggest portion I’ve yet to receive yet in Barcelona (ceviche is a dish I order often). There is a soft mass of sweet potato puree off to the side which is a welcome intermezzo to the mouth puckering leche de tigre. My friend Lisa has gone for El Chaufa (€7.2) a Peruvian dish based on Chinese fried rice. It has tender morsels of belly of pork and thin ribbons of egg.
The food is such a success that I am easily convinced by Roxana to order a dessert (€2.5). Today, it is a pot of light peanut butter mousse with a chocolate crumble on top – a cloud like version of a snickers bar.
It’s good to be wrong and I look forward to coming back to try the pulled chicharrón sandwich (€7.5) that people seem to be ordering. My mouth is watering. Is yours?
Toma Ya Gracia
C/ Nil Fabra 34-36