you start with one or two, you can order more if you are still hungry, or more likely, if you cannot resist the smell of someone else’s choice wafting past your table. Mawn does not regret the lack of proliferation of tapas bars in Scotland. Whilst there are half a dozen or so excellent and authentic examples in London. the majority are exploiting a fashion, bear little resemblance to the


In contrast to what one would anticipate from a typical Spanish bar, Barcelona is very much a

original, and are not worth bothering


"Some of the Best Food in Glasgow is to be found in

Barcelona" -Trencherman, Glasgow Herald

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restaurant, its tiny. orderly interior dominated by elbow to elbow crisp white table linen. On arrival. we were immediately greeted by the Pavlovian aroma of saute’ed garlic. not to mention a very polite but welcoming waitress. In fact she was so obliging. that our spending over half an hour choosing the house wine did not seem to cause the least aggravation.

The exclusively Spanish wine list is impressive. Mawn has plans to offer as many as 60 bins. as soon as he can find storage space. The current 40

. include several of the increasingly

popular Catalonian sparkling wines or Cavas. House red is £6.75 a bottle. either Rene Barbier from the Penedes region ofCatalonia, or Ochoa from neighbouring Navarra. We enjoyed the latter it had a rich. mellow bouquet and yet was very light and drinkable. Barcelona also offers San Miguel. Cruz Campo and Mahou beers.

There is also a big choice on the food front. The list of 30 tapas dishes includes classics such as gazpacho and Spanish omelette and others less familiar such as Coca De Maresme. a simple Catalonian speciality consisting of toasted bread brushed with tomato and olive oil. and Calamares en su tinta. squid cooked in its own ink.

We tried to order a representative variety of dishes. Sardinas Friras (chargrilled sardines). were tasty but not charred enough for me. 1 also think they would have been better piping hot be warned. try these first or order them separately. (Jambas Gabardinas are prawns in a raincoat of batter ours were crispy, if a little bland. and better with the lemon provided than their spaghetti-type tomato sauce. The Chorizo lived up to expectation. and it is only when you have cleaned the plate that you realise how rich this sausage is. We also had a herby artichoke salad that was a refreshing contrast. if no less oily.

My favourite two platters were Patatas Alia/i and l’imicnm Rellenu de Merluzo. The former is a very rich potato salad smothered in strong garlic mayonnaise; the best thing about it was the smoky taste of the potatoes I wonder if they had been fried first. The latter dish consisted ofa very tender-skinned red pepper stuffed with hake: it tasted pleasantly ofcheese. Overall. the food was not as oily as I had feared. but neither was it as consistently flavoursome as I had hoped. l was assured that virgin olive oil was used. but 1 am afraid I could not taste it. A warning also: you will reek ofgarlic for days.

We couldn‘t manage puddings but the fresh pineapple and sorbets that we saw heading elsewhere looked delicious. There is good strong espresso coffee and cappuccino.

Evening meals are ofa quite different order. Mawn is ambitious. and changes his menu every day to accommodate his market finds.


Popular starters include Calcots. deep-fried spring onions served with a sauce of almonds, hazels. parsley. garlic. tomatoes and peppers, and the unusual Ollagitana. literally a gypsies‘ pot from southern Spain consisting of pumpkin. green beans. pears, nuts. garlic and chick peas. Main courses sound no less extravagant. Mari Mantanya for example is a mountainous platter of chicken cooked in herbs and white wine covered with fresh crevettes and topped with almond sauce. Understandably. this is their best-selling dish. Another dish that is not for the faint-hearted or the meat-shy involves a 21b leg of lamb per head. this being marinated in sherry and garlic and served with a sauce of green peppers. sherry and wild honey. Restaurante Barcelona. 16 Byres Road. Glasgow. 0413570994. Lunch: Tue—Sat noon—2.30pm. Tapas dishes are between f 1.5 0 and £3 .50. Dinner: Tue—Sal 7pm—midnight. last orders 10.30pm. £15—[20a head.

OtherTapas Bars

I Junkanoo 111 Hope Street. Glasgow. ()41 248 7102. Open: Mon-Sat. noon—late. The atmosphere of this bar is more Latin American than Spanish. but there is a good selection of tapas on offer. Expect to pay between £1 .51) and £5.95 per head.

I The Rock. Spittal Street. Edinburgh.

Edinburgh will have to wait until February. when this bar opens fully. to savour tapas.

Spanish Wine

When you have tried a few of these. it is easy to understand why Spaniards spend so much time in bars. Oddbins have an extensive range: these three reds are selected from a list of up to twenty. subject to availability in individual outlets.

Rioja Beronia 1982. £5.89. This is a classic. full-bodied Rioja. It is redolent ofwood and vine. velvety. creamy with just enough tannin. Rioja Lorinon 1986. £4.99. Dissatisfied with most comparable wines on offer. Oddbins have overseen the production of this modern Rioja. which falls somewhere between traditional rich and light extremes. It smells delicious— thinner than the Beronia. but with sweet blackberries. smoked oak and vanilla. The complex nose yields a taste equally interesting. A really lovely wine if a little ephemeral. 1 could drink Lorinon until the cows come home.

Gran Colegiaia 1987. from the Tom region. £4.29. At 14 percent volume. this is a wine to be reckoned with. Despite promising fruit and oak on the nose. I found it far too tannic and aggressive. But 1 was outvoted by fellow tasters who championed it enthusiastically. It would probably be better with food. tapaseven...

78 The List 25 Jantiarv - 7 Februarv I99!