A few days before leaving for Barcelona, I started stressing that we didn't secure reservations at some of the tougher places to get into. After all, Spain is considered by many to be the gastronomic center of the universe, so it would be a shame to eat tapas the whole trip (not really). We don't typically look for fine dining when traveling, but certainly wanted to experience a few meals from chefs serving modern Catalan cuisine.
I was able to snag a lunch reservation at Hisop, a Michelin-starred restaurant that seemed to fit the bill.
As usual, we were the first people to show up to the restaurant. I wasn't even sure if it was open, or if it was a restaurant. The interior is shockingly minimalistic. Clean lines and very modern. Stark whites and light wood tones. And boy was it quiet. I started regretting booking a restaurant for lunch that was probably more suited to evening dining (considering the price-point and ambition of the menu), but any concern melted away with the wonderful service and excellent food.
I asked for some help with the wine choice, hoping to get something local. With some guidance we opted for a bottle of Carles Andreu Parellada. Parellada is one of the varieties used to make Cava. This producer is in Catalonia, not far from Barcelona. It had a bit of oak, and lots of acid. A great match for the seafood that was coming down the pipeline.
A few amuses were presented, including this little piece of octopus in what I believe was described as “sea water.” It did, in fact, taste like the sea, but with a smoky element. The essence of the ocean, smoked. It was intoxicating The bread and olive, also, were excellent.
As I'm reviewing the pictures I see that we had five dishes, which is one more than we would have ordered, so I think this seppia was another amuse, rather than a course. Seppia (cuttlefish) with some sort of mayo-type sauce. It was the first seppia of the trip, and I found myself ordering it pretty much at every meal. This first cuttlefish dish made a positive impression on me.
Off to a good start.