Girl Versus Food

Reviews, recipes and thoughts from a Scottish food blogger

Tag: tapas

Iberica Glasgow – Spanish Restaurant

What do you think of when you imagine Spanish restaurants in the UK? Unimaginative? Lacking authenticity? That has often been my experience in the past… the food has never been quite as delicious as you remember from that holiday in Spain. That was, at least, until I visited Iberica in Glasgow.

What. A. Treat.

The restaurant was busy with a great atmosphere; on a week night evening this is surely a good sign! It has a chic interior, dominated by dramatic light shades.

The menu is updated seasonally and the current offering is bursting full of fresh ideas and ingredients. The menu has a mix of classic and modern tapas.

We started with some olives, toasted bread with tomato and a platter of Juan Pedro Domecq Iberico ham. The ham comes from the black Iberian pig and is cured for a minimum of 42 months. It is easily the best quality ham that I’ve tried.

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Our charming and helpful waiter recommended a bottle of Tempranillo; a red wine from Ribera del Guadiana in the west of Spain. It was a great recommendation and the wine paired well with our food.

One of the seasonal dishes that the restaurant is serving is the beef tomato and salmorejo. Salmorejo is a puree similar to gazpacho and orginates from Cordoba in Andalucia. I recently visited the region and tried a few different takes on salmorejo; the Iberica version was different from what I tried but equally delicious. In fact, it was one of our favourite tapa of the meal. It was so fresh and the beetroot granita topping and contrasting textures made every bite interesting.

IMG_1409The cod brandada had the most eye-catching presentation and I’m pleased to say it tasted as good as it looked! The brandada is a kind of pureed cod with olive oil to which the vegetable crisps provided the perfect texture contrast.

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Another favourite was the crispy chicken; confit chicken thigh with romesco sauce and hazelnuts. The chicken thighs were tender and the sauce had a rich flavour.

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Finally, a special mention for the twice cooked lamb which picked up some of the Moorish influences in Spanish cooking. It was melt in the mouth delicious and served with tomatoes and red peppers. This is a must-have when you come to Iberica! It went perfectly with the Tempranillo wine.

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We finished with desserts (including churros!) and some accompanying sherries. A great reminder of my visit to the home of sherry; Jerez! Iberica is definitely my new go-to place when I want that authentic taste of Spain in the (slightly less) sunny Glasgow.

4 Places to Eat in Barcelona

My recent visit to Barcelona was full of foodie delights that I want to share with you. I’ve picked out four to give you a flavour of my trip….

Elisabet’s

It wouldn’t be a trip to Barcelona without some fantastic tapas and the one I would recommend is Elisabet’s; a relaxed tapas place in El Raval area of the city which is popular with locals. The restaurant opened in 1962 and has walls adorned with old radios and black and white photographs. One of their specialities is patatas bravas topped with bolognese. The little green padron peppers covered in salt are so moreish that we had to order a second serving. This place is very affordable; we had plenty to eat and drink and the bill was around €15 each.

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Bacoa Burger

There are a couple of Bacoa Burger restaurants in Barcelona. I went to the one near the Universitat but also noticed one at the beach near W Hotel. This is casual dining where you place your order at the counter and your burger is cooked to order. I opted for La Bacoa which is topped with smoked bacon and Manchego cheese. The burger was very good quality and tasted great. Highly recommended and open until 1am so great for some late night food!

Petit Pau

Alongside the tapas and street food, Barcelona has a thriving fine dining scene. I wanted to have one really special meal during my four day break and after some online research I came across Petit Pau. The restaurant is located in the rustic Sants area of the city and seats just 16 people.

Proprietor, Pau, welcomed us with a glass of cava and talked us through the mouth-watering menu which was written in Catalan. The menu is small but perfectly formed with six starters and six mains to choose from. The decision was quite painful as every dish sounded delicious!

Some of the highlights of our meal were octopus salad, fois gra with apple puree and sea bass in a muscle broth. Each dish was cooked to perfection and the flavour combinations were just amazing. Pau carefully chooses local Catalonian wines to go with the regularly changing menu and as a result, there is one variety of red and one variety of white wine available (priced at only €12 a bottle).

This was a fantastic dining experience from start to finish and I cannot recommend it highly enough! Pau was knowledgeable and so welcoming. The three course meal and wine came in at less than €50 per person.

Due to its size and popularity, you need to book Petit Pau a few months in advance. You can book by sending a message to their Facebook page here.

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With Pau and Chef

With Pau and Chef

La Boqueria

Barcelona is famous for its food markets and the most famous of all is The Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, known simply as La Boqueria. It is, of course, a tourist trap, and if you are a serious foodie you might want to go off the beaten track and explore one of the less well known markets. However, La Boqueria is right on Las Ramblas and I think definitely worth a visit to take in the sights and smells. We grabbed some delicious fresh oysters and razor clams from a stall while we wandered round. When we got peckish again we found a tapas bar towards the back of the market and ordered a few dishes.

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Barcelona has everything a food lover could want from cheap and quick eats to luxury Michelin star restaurants. There were so many places on my list that I didn’t get a chance to try that there’s only one thing for it – I better start planning my next trip!

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