Hola! – Taller de Tapas, Barcelona

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After three uncomfortable train rides from Toulouse, and nine hours later, we finally arrived in Barcelona yesterday afternoon. I felt at home from the get go. Beautiful carved marble buildings, narrow streets, things to see and eat and do everywhere, bloody talented buskers bringing it altogether with music on every street corner. There was this man in his late 60s belting out Nessun Dorma as if he was performing to thousands in an Italian opera house, but he was standing on La Rambla in a T-shirt and shorts, peddling his CD for 10 euro a pop. His voice was beautiful.

Eventually we had to find a place to eat, and after much deliberation (too much, as usual, with four opinionated Bruces weighing into the decision), we strolled on over to Taller de Tapas.

Located in the heart of Barcelona in Place Sant Josep Oriol, it was teeming with tourists (god knows we all hate being identified as such) but that didn’t detract from the fact that the food and drink was brilliant.

We started off with mojitos which took an age to make – the Spanish don’t believe in timeliness, I don’t think. They were worth the wait because they were delicious, and the free-pour culture in Barcelona ensured that we didn’t need another one anytime soon. We then ordered marinated anchovies from L’Escala, steamed mussels with herbs and lemon, fried crispy artichokes, suckling pig with herbs and potato, fried squid rings and salted cod fritters and roasted green pedron peppers.

Sweet moses. What a feast. Everything was delicious. The standouts were the very fresh mussels which went really well with the artichokes, the squid and the suckling pig – perfectly caramelised crackling, a juicy layer of tasty pork fat and succulent meat, the juices of which we mopped up with the fat-cut potato chips. Yummmmmmmmmm. We were sitting outside while a busker serenaded us with Tracy Chapman and Bob Marley, and the whole experience was utterly enjoyable. It was about 25 euro a head for plenty of food, mojitos and glasses of wine, which is out-of-this-world cheap compared to France.

Well I better be off, because I need to suss out a restaurant that apparently serves everything with some form of cheese. I’m salivating all over my breakfast jamon at the prospect.

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