Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mosquito

If you live in the vicinity of Manchester and have ever visited the Northern Quarter then you will be aware of a tribe of people who frequent that locale known as hipsters.  They aren't hard to spot with their neck beards, thick black glasses and their appreciation for craft beer.  Although that last sentence accurately describes me I don't think I could ever be labelled a hipster as less than one percent of my being is made up of cool and further to that I'm not expending any significant effort trying to be any cooler.  Although some people really loath hipsters (just head over to the comments section of Manchester Confidential to see some regular hipster bashing) I'm indifferent to them and as I've said above it is sometimes difficult to identify a hipster as opposed to a normal, scruffy person like myself.  The only time when I'll be concerned about the presence of a suspected hipster is when somebody has had the misguided wisdom to place them in charge of serving drinks at a bar or waiting tables.  This is because your hardcore hipster has a very clear idea of what customer service should be and this includes making you wait as long as possible while they chat to their buddies, providing a surly greeting, nonchalantly questioning your choice of beer and generally displaying a willful disregard for the basics of good customer service.  Now at the beginning of this paragraph I might have suggested that hipsters are unique to the single square mile of Greater Manchester, that isn't the case as wherever you go in the world you always run the chance of coming face to face with a hardcore hipster.


It seems so long ago now but just two short weeks ago we were in Barcelona ticking off as many recomendations as possible of which Mosquito was one.  Labelled as 'tapas exoticas' on their website it is essentially a dim sum bar that sells loads of imported beers from USA and the rest of Europe including Scotland's own BrewDog beers which had surprisingly made the leap to quite a few Barcelona bars.  It is located on one of the more easily locatable streets in El Born surrounded by quite a few other very pleasant bars.  We had been warned that it was 'the hipster HQ for the Born region' therefore assuming it would be busy we got there at a decent time with a mind prepared for a queue.

On arrival the place was full but we were greeted at the door and told there were a few tables in front of us but the wait shouldn't be too long, result.  I'd noticed that I had left the door open as I came in, I turned back to close it but too late, a girl sat right next to it slammed it shut angrily and let out a hiss.  We'll come back to this young lady in a short while.  If like me you are a stupid English person who barely has the linguistic skill to speak his own language, never mind anybody else's, then you are in luck at Mosquito as more than likely the staff will have a higher IQ than me and will speak English but even if they don't the waiting system is simple enough to understand (a big blackboard with names on) as is the menu.


The bar itself is brilliant, a really interesting mix of Oriental decor slapped on top of an already lovely, classic Barcelona bar.  The high ceilings stop the ever full bar from becoming claustrophobic and ensure the heaving crowd provides a great atmosphere instead of a frustration.  Sure the tables are crammed in and you will certainly be eating on the end of somebody else's elbow but they get away with it because of the real buzz that lives in this bar.  Sadly I couldn't fully appreciate it myself as my eyes weren't working, my body had decided to wait until I was on holiday to unleash an infection on my unsuspecting eye balls.  I simply didn't see it coming.  As a result my eyesight was a bit squiffy and I had to wear sunglasses all the time even indoors, at night but if I was going to look like a dickhead trying too hard to be trendy what better place than 'hipster HQ'.


Jules had to pick me a drink from the board for me as I couldn't read it and she chose well procuring me a pint of Fursternberg which went down very well while we waited in the last available space in the bar that could accommodate two average humans.  As we waited a steady stream of new young and good looking dudes and dudettes flocked in and out and they all seemed to know each other which actually made it a really friendly bar to observe.  As each drinker entered and left they unfortunately left the door ajar each time (it was a dodgy door) and each time the girl sat next to it would ritually slam the door and let out a highly audible sigh.  This ritual came to an end when she slammed it directly in to a young mans head as he stepped through the doorway with an audible 'thunk' that put her sigh to shame.  He hit the deck big time and wasn't moving very much, I opened the door so that it wasn't slowly crushing his legs and various strangers leapt to his aid, the slammer sat open mouthed admitting nothing.  It should be noted that this bar is so popular that the presence of a man potentially in his last moments of life did not stop people stepping over his prone body to get in to the restaurant.  I too was worried that we would be called to our table and I would be left with the incredible dilemma of either missing my table or releasing the door which could pinch an artery in his leg effectively delivering the killing blow.  It was OK, he got up about 10 minutes later and got in an ambulance. I'm sure he was alright.  We were seated and got our order in quite quickly.  All was well in the world.


The first item that arrived (everything appears as soon as it is cooked in no discernible order) were two types of vegetable dumplings.  I'm afraid that names of dishes will be in short supply as we have completely forgotten them and we failed to, as we normally do, take a photo of the menu as a reference.  Never mind as I'm sure all their dumplings are as good as the ones we had that completely raised the bar as far as dumplings go.  I always order dumplings if they are on the menu as they are a personal fave but these bad boys were better than any I've ever had before and not by a small margin.  Great burst of flavour on the inside and a sturdy but light encasing of wonton, cooked to perfection.  Alongside these we had a huge bowl of edemame beans which were moreishly salty delivered in a really generous portion.


The wonton broth that appeared next looked impressively clear and you might have expected it to be light on flavour if it is light on colour but this was not the case, it packed a huge punch of flavour.  Again the dumplings were perfect but now we had an added texture of crunchy Oriental vegetables floating in the broth that were super tasty.  Alongside this we had smoked and steamed tofu, I'm not a fan of tofu but this looked like a good example of the dish as the tofu was as firm as they can be and the flavours in the broth were a little bit more subtle, a little more complex.


One final dish that we consumed was steamed sticky rice and pork.  This was a real winner and very satisfying.  The sticky salty rice arrived wrapped in banana leaves that once removed just looked like a plain bowl of rice but as soon as you tucked in to it you saw that there were small chunks of pork.  You might be disappointed with the size of the pork titbits at first but each scrap of pork was so full of flavour that it might have been too rich if served in a large portion.  I would love to know how they cooked this.


The food was brilliant.  It is a fantastic bar with an absolutely banging atmosphere that doesn't impinge on your enjoyment of your food or a conversation with your fellow diners.  The only mistake that has been made in the creation of the bar is that somebody had the wisdom to employ a full team of hipsters to run it.  Now this is not to say that they were surly or unpleasant like some of our local hipsters, no they were all lovely and chatty when we got to speak to them with an abundance of patience as we tussled with the menu decisions.  The issue was that the choices being made by the waiting staff were utterly incomprehensible.  Here is a quick quiz for you... if you have 16 people waiting to come in to a 60 cover restaurant and you have 12 people who want to get their bill what is the correct course of action?  If you work at Mosquito the action you will take is to hang around the bar having a nice chat with your friends before going to offer drinks to tables who have clearly got drinks while complaining to them that the bar is too busy.  There was just no rhyme or reason to the service, nobody was waiting on any particular tables, nobody seemed to be in charge of the bar, it was unorganised chaos.  So much so that it was actually funny.  It didn't harm our experience in the end but I would have loved another drink over the course of the meal.  It is just infuriating that they just need one more person on the floor to actually watch what's going on and give the slightest bit of direction to the team and it would be absolutely amazing.  It just goes to show that wherever you are in the world there is always the risk of hipster service.  Either way the dumplings are sooooo good that it doesn't matter, I'd go to this restaurant if the service was terrible.  I'd even give it a go if there was a sheet of plate glass in between me and the dumplings that could only be opened with my head.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Tamagoyaki and Cucumber Maki Bento

By far my least favourite times of the year are those 6 dreadful Sundays when I'm preparing myself, mentally and physically, for going back to school after the holidays. I'm sure every teacher will agree but I bet none of them will be able to fully explain why. It is weird because even though I'm relatively new to the profession, even I already know that there's no need to feel so bad about it, that by 10:15am on the Monday you already feel as if you'd never been away... Even so, it's very difficult to escape the feeling of dread and my dad told me that even after 40 years of teaching, it never goes away.


I've realised that the best way to deal with it is to make sure you've got any work out of the way so that the last Sunday can be spent relaxing, doing things you love and basically distracting yourself. This time I decided to give myself a reason to look forward to going to work. I texted my fellow teacher friend Hayley and told her not to bring in a packed lunch, that she was getting a bento brought in by me.


I decided to try out making a variation on the Tamagoyaki recipe out of The Just Bento Cookbook and I also remembered Hayley telling me how much she loved Cucumber Maki so I whipped a roll of those out too.

Tamagoyaki first attempt
This was my second attempt at making Tamagoyaki; the first time I'd done it I'd been reassured by Makiko's words in the cookbook "Don't despair if your tamagoyaki doesn't quite look perfect. It will still taste great!" (it didn't look perfect. It did still taste great). This second time it was a lot easier and looked loads nicer so I'm sure the third time I attempt the tamagoyaki it will be ace.

Tamagoyaki second attempt: much better
The bentos turned out lovely, despite initial fears that I'd overdone it with the wasabi in the maki rolls (Bailey ate one and cried out in pain before slamming his fist on the table. Oops), they seemed to mellow overnight and were fine. Phew! I really liked the last minute addition of some Sriracha sauce which I only did to fill up a space but was the perfect partner to the Tamagoyaki. I also used more of the lovely bento accessories given to me by Tokyo Purple Girl, even including these adorable hand towels!


Hayley was dead pleased and said her bento was "a delight" and the excitement of giving someone else a lunch treat certainly did make doing back to school a much less terrible experience. Oh wait, it's never as terrible as you think anyway... Try telling me that after the next holidays and I will bite your head clean off.


Recipe:
For the Tamagoyaki
4 eggs
1/2 tbsp Splenda
1 tsp mirin
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
1 tsp soy sauce
Non-stick cooking spray

For the Cucumber Maki
1 sheet nori
3 cups Japanese sticky rice, cooked to packet instructions, seasoned and sprinkled with mirin
Wasabi
1/4 cucumber

To serve
Mini bottles of soy sauce
Leftover stir fried veggies
Japanese rice sprinkles
Pots of Sriracha sauce

Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk in the Splenda.


Whisk in the mirin, salt, pepper and soy sauce. Meanwhile, spray a frying pan with the cooking spray and heat the pan up over a medium heat.


Use two chopsticks to drop a bit of the egg mixture into the frying pan and draw a line of egg in the bottom of the pan. If the egg cooks straight away, the pan is hot enough. Lower the heat of the cooker and pour a thin layer of egg into the bottom of the pan. Any bubbles that form, pop with the chopsticks. As soon as the egg layer starts to set, roll it to one side of the pan using the chopsticks. Keep flipping it until you have a roll.


Add another layer of egg and tilt the pan to ensure it spreads all around the base and also goes under your already existing egg roll. Keep rolling the layers of egg around the large egg roll until all the egg mixture has been added and you have a nice big roll of egg. Transfer the egg roll to a sushi mat and roll the sushi mat up nice and tight. Leave this to cool (I gave mine a stint in the fridge once it had cooled down a bit) before taking it out and chopping into slices to be placed into the bento box.


Meanwhile, make the Cucumber Maki. Take the nori sheet and lay it on a sushi mat. Cover the nori sheet with some of the Japanese sticky rice, leaving a little bit blank at the top - this will seal the maki roll.  Don't use up all the sushi rice as you need to save some to put in your box too! Lay the cucumber strips onto the wasabi and then use the sushi mat to roll the  Put a thin stripe of wasabi down the centre, widthways. Chop the cucumber up into four quarters, lengthways.


Lay the cucumber strips onto the wasabi, before using the sushi rolling mat to make a roll - squeezing as you go along to get a nice tight bit of sushi. Chop the roll up into about 6 pieces, ready to add to the bento box! Make your bento box look dead pretty and fill up with the rest of the sushi rice, stir fried veggies, fake grass, pretty decorations etc! Now it is ready to take to your lovely friends at work, enjoy!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Bar del Pla

UK tapas has got a bad rep.  Probably deservedly so based on past performance.  In years gone by I've sat in tapas restaurants and regularly heard the unmissable ding of the microwave moments before my overpriced, tasteless, soggy squid is slopped on to the table by a minimum wage teenager.  Bad atmosphere, bad food, bad service.  These were the cornerstones of British tapas until recently.  Now in Manchester we have the delights of El Rincon de Rafa, the surprisingly high quality of La Tasca as well as the well recommended Pinchjo's and Bar Suan Juan.  The UK has dramatically turned around its heinous record for serving small plates of Spanish food.  Well done UK, well done.


That said its never going to be as good as the tapas you eat while you are in fairer lands!  There is nothing that the UK can do to capture the sunshine and the warmth of eating on a terrace in Barcelona, nothing.  These things really don't cut it.  Stone cold cast iron purveyor of Barcelona recommendations Jules' brother had described Bar del Pla as 'THE BEST TAPAS IN TOWN' (his capitalisation, not mine) therefore we were duty bound to pay it a visit.


Location wise Bar del Pla is located in El Born within walking distance of the beach, the very centre of Barcelona, the gothic quarter or Park Ciutadella (the very best location to sit and watch the happy dogs of Barcelona hanging out).  Tucked away in an easily navigable alleyway (where all the best Barcelona locations are tucked away) the only reason that you might miss its classic black and white sign is that it could be obscured by human beings.  Bar del Pla is one of those annoying places that is both populated by loyal locals as well as being a destination for visitors causing a double whammy of popularity meaning it is highly likely that you are going to have to wait for a table.  On the first night we got there just before 11pm thinking we would waltz in for a late table.  We were simple fools.  The place was heaving and we were politely told "no hay posibilidad".  We returned a couple of days later at 7pm (very early to dine in Barcelona) and we walked in to claim our table.


The interior of the cavernous bar can only be described as simply beautiful.  There are no luxuries to be found in the decorations here, the bar surface is a simple marble, the wooden shelves behind the bar are a little makeshift, a functional clock lives at the far end of the room, plain tables and chairs line the walls.  The reason it feels amazing to dine here is that it all feels honest and authentic, it feels like this bar has been here forever and nothing has ever changed because no one wanted it to change in any way.  There is only really one eye catching element of the bar and that is the wonderful tiles that adorn the floor and the bar.  Jules was a big fan of the random assortment.


As I've said elsewhere before I do love a good tradition and it seems the Catalan people do enjoy drinking cava with lunch and dinner served in an ice bucket with perfectly chilled glasses (not too cold).  I will not stand in the way of this tradition.  When it came to ordering the food we thought we would start with the big hitting traditional tapas dishes of tomato bread, patatas bravas and padron peppers.


Tomato and bread.  How good can it be?  It was phenomenal.  Minds were blown.  The concept of tomato bread was delivered perfectly.  The top of the bread was a salty, oily treat but the tomato flavour was never lost.  The texture of the top of bread was deliciously moist and countered by the ever crusty, blackened bottom.  Chips and tomato sauce.  How good can it be?  Well they can be as good as that darned tomato bread.  Bravas come in many forms and everybody has their favourite combination of crisp or soft potatoes with spicy or sweet bravas sauce.  This plate fell firmly in the soft potato and sweet bravas sauce camp.  Easily one of the most perfect bravas plates we've ever tasted.  Alongside these came the padron peppers which brought a much needed salty, fiery hit to counter the richness of the other two plates.


Because we are English food gluttons it really didn't take us too long to dispatch our plates of food despite our best efforts to savor every mouthful for as long as possible.  For round two we opted for fried artichokes, squid ink croquettes, ham & roasted meat croquettes and we couldn't leave without a second hit of those bloody tomato breads.


There isn't really anything fancy about the presentation used.  Much like the room itself the plates are functional and clean, the food has been assembled with care but absolutely no pretentiousness.  The fried artichokes came in a very light batter which made it all too easy to demolish the crunchy but soft on the inside delights.  We did say that they could have done with a bit more salt but we are salt fiends always looking for our next big hit.


The croquettes both delivered huge hits of flavour and the exteriors were audibly crispy.  Once you'd crunched through the super crust there was loads of rich filling escaping in to your gob.  The meat one might not be to everybody's taste as there was an element of 'tripeyness' to it but I loved it, loads of salt and meatier than meat flavours.  The squid ink croquettes delivered the same strong, rich, luxurious flavours on the inside but the texture was a very light mousse that was shockingly black.


The service throughout was brilliant.  The waitresses managed to pull off that very difficult trick of providing bang on service to everyone whilst also looking like they were never in a rush while at the same time appearing to be having a good time of their own.  The manager/owner also swung by for a chat but not one of those horrible awkward chats you might expect a proprietor to engage in with an obvious tourist, he seemed genuinely happy to enter in to a bit of discourse with us but at the same time he didn't outstay his welcome.  We explained that Jules' brother had claimed his tapas bar was the best in Barcelona and that we agreed, with a wry smile and a nod of the head he graciously said "it is one of the good ones".  He made us smile.  The whole bar made us feel very welcome.


To me Bar del Pla is the perfect example of what authentic tapas should be.  The food is humble but still exceptionally good, the bar is plain but beautiful and the service is simple but welcoming.  I love Bar del Pla and I understand why Jules' brother loves it.  I pledge that every time I visit Barcelona I will make sure I pay it a visit.  I promise that if I know you personally then at some point I am going to tell you that you should visit Barcelona just to go here.  I swear I've never had better tapas.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Caj Chai

Caj Chai was another brilliant recommendation from my Barcelona connoisseur brother, who knows how much I love a good cup of tea for my brekkie. If you love tea as much as we do in the Morris family and are ever strolling around el Barri Gotic gasping for a cuppa, then this is the place for you.


As soon as I walked through the front door I was in love with the mismatched vintage furniture mishmashed with Himalayan d├ęcor. The place was incredibly calm too - the chatter and lighting were low and the music sounded like it had been taken from one of those 'relaxing sounds' CDs.


Considering the fact that if I worked at Caj Chai I would probably fall asleep behind the bar, the staff were very attentive. I think it was the owner who served us and he was softly spoken and knowledgeable - exactly the sort of man you would like to be served exotic teas by.


Looking Caj Chai's menu, which is so big it's more like a filofax, is an experience in itself; it is divided into types of tea all with fascinating descriptions to help you choose.


My selection of a Choco Yogi chai tea was a blend of chai and black teas, cocoa and honey, garnished with a super spicy chunk of crystalised ginger. At first it tasted like a bittersweet hot chocolate followed afterwards by a chai spice kick.


The Sun Moon Lake Assam Tea recommended to Bailey by the nice tea man arrived in a futuristic silver flask and traditional teapot (I have since discovered is called a 'shiboridashi') with cup. Nice tea man showed Bailey how to operate said items and how long to brew the tea for, resulting in perfect cup after perfect cup.


To nibble on, we chose a plate of Himalayan and Indian pastries. Despite having lived right off the curry mile for three years I am ashamed to say we've never tried any Indian sweets so these were a real revelation. They were serious no-nonsense chunky pastries and were all amazing in their own different way. Our favourite was what we can only describe as 'the pink one' which was moist, squidgy and coconutty.


We were very tempted to spend 90€ on some of the pricey-but-worth-it shiboridashi pots that Caj Chai also have on sale and hopefully will do next time we are in Barcelona, budget / airline permitting (I imagine Ryanair would have smashed the poor things to smithereens). Although Barcelona has thousands of amazing places to eat, we found breakfast options for greedy people like us to be more limited so Caj Chai was the perfect place to start the day. I would definitely recommend this to any tea lover and have in fact already told my dad that he NEEDS to take my tea-loving auntie there in the summer when they go together. This is also the perfect spot if you have been walking around the busy tourist spots (i.e. have had the misfortune of finding yourself anywhere near Las Ramblas) and feel the need to get a moment's peace and quiet. A lovely place!


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Takashi Ochiai

Bailey had found the delightful Japanese patisserie Takashi Ochiai for our Barcelona eating list by clicking on the first link he found when he typed "best breakfast in Barcelona" into Google. Coincidentally it is located on my old road - Carrer Compte d'Urgell. I don't know if Takashi Ochiai existed when I lived there though, if it had I would definitely have gone there all the time.


We visited Ochiai for our breakfast early on a Sunday afternoon and found it full of well-to-do Eixample folk and with a lovely, calming atmosphere.


The first thing we saw as we walked through the door was a beautiful selection of delicate cakes and pastries, some of which were being expertly guarded by the wise robot cat that is Doraemon, whose adventures we'd just been catching up on on our hotel room telly. ANOTHER COINCIDENCE!

Doraemon, probably thinking up some pearls of wisdom that no one will listen to
First up for Bailey was a Flauta filled with Serrano ham. He said this was an excellent sandwich made with amazing crispy on the outside / fluffy on the inside bread rubbed with tomato. The ham was also delicious.


He also had a huge glass of vanilla milk which was refreshingly ice cold but not too sweet. This was also perfect with his lovely Pastis de Xocolata cake made with super thin layers of cake with a light chocolate mousse, covered in a layer of shiny, sticky ganache.


As they didn't have any vegetarian Flautas left for me, I went straight onto the good stuff - a Mousse de Te Verd cake. This consisted of a slightly savoury chocolate biscuit (reminding me of a bourbon), some sharp raspberry sauce covered with a cool green tea mousse and topped with a fresh raspberry. This was absolutely delicious and one of the most unusual cakes I've ever had.


Even more unusual was the beautifully presented Cappuccino de Matxa I ordered. It was really different to any drink I'd ever had and very nice as long as you are a fan of strong green tea.


Service at Takashi Ochiai was very prompt and professional but generally lacked the warmth we'd experienced in other eateries in the city. However when we paid our bill the manageress was very chatty and was pleased about how much we'd liked her cakes!


I noticed that in my absence from Barcelona since living there (over 4 years) that Japanese food seems to have become even more popular than it was then (for example Carrefour on Las Ramblas now has a massive fresh sushi counter) and it would appear as a result, little places like Takashi Ochiai have cropped up. We thought it  was a brilliant place and would recommend popping in for a stunning cake and unusual drink or two.


Friday, April 19, 2013

La Paradeta

Hands up if you like consuming seafood!!! Hands up if you like consuming seafood by the seaside!!! Yeeeeeah! La Paradeta was a fantastic recommendation from my Barcelona expert brother. As a lover of consuming seafood and particularly of consuming seafood by the seaside, this place sounded right up my street.


It is a a brilliant concept for a restaurant: you go in through the door where an amazing array of fresh seafood is laid out, like at the fishmonger's. You tell the jolly dudes what you want, before going to the bar to get your drinks / bread / sides, then you find yourself a table. Meanwhile your seafood is cooked for you by a team of chefs who call out your table number when each part of your order is ready. GREAT idea.


Unsurprisingly, seeing as Catalan folk seem to love seafood and this is such a great concept for a restaurant, this place is ridiculously popular. We arrived before opening time on Saturday lunchtime to find a small queue had already formed. We were quite grateful of this as we could watch the locals in the queue in front of us to help us work out what we were supposed to do.


Well, this was a super fun dining experience from start to finish. While this could seem like an intimidating place to eat if you don't speak the lingo, it's actually ideal as everyone was getting involved in a bit of pointing, although going armed with a bit of cooking vocab might be of use - I was asked if I wanted my calamares fried or grilled, for example.


Once we had ordered our fish, which was exciting in itself, we got ourselves bread, salad, allioli and a delicious bottle of cava complete with frosted glasses and ice bucket (a treat for me and Bailey to drink cava at lunch!).


Next up we waited for our table number to be called out so we could get our freshly cooked seafood handed over to us through the little serving hatch. Far from being annoying (you'd think having to get up all the time would be), this was most definitely part of the fun. Although things were ready at different times, this was great as you got to eat everything while hot and fresh.


Our first plate was the most delightful calamares me and Bailey have ever had with the perfect amount of crunch, and a massive portion of tiny fried fish. This was perfectly crisp with the lightest tempura-esque batter. When eating little fish, I always think of Mrs Petticoat pretending to be a giant while eating whitebait; well, she'd have had a field day with these teeny-tiny fishies. Both of these were fantastic dipped into the super garlicky allioli.


Next we got octopus and razor clams which were both packed full of flavour, perfectly cooked and served with an amazing garlic oil which was great when mopped up with bread. This was my second razor clams experience, and a much less sandy one at that.


Finally we got a big old plate full of things Bailey doesn't like and I realised my eyes had been bigger than my stomach as here we had 20€ worth of prawns and langostines all for me. Whoops.


They were too amazing to leave behind - plump, rich, meaty, juicy and surely the best crustaceans I've ever eaten. I made a real mess eating these bad boys compared to the little old Catalan man on the table next to me who managed to shell his without making a single bit of mess.

I made quite a big mess for a small lady
Stuffed full of seafood, I declared this to be one of the best lunches I'd ever had. My only niggles? I thought the salad was a bit overpriced at 4€, and I ordered too much but that was down to my own greed.


To give you an idea of how popular La Paradeta is, the doors opened at 1pm and by 1:25, every table in the large restaurant was full, with a queue of punters (staring daggers at anyone who'd finished eating but still had half a bottle of cava to finish off, i.e. us) going all the way to the other side of the street. I loved La Paradeta so much I'd love to think that a place like this could open in Manchester but I just don't know if people would go for it and if the fish could be of the same quality. Therefore, La Paradeta is an absolute must for seafood lovers on holiday and there are several branches in Barcelona to choose from. However, get there early to avoid disappointment!


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