After four years giving many joys to those who enjoy a good informal snack with friends, chef Daniel Roca dares with a Madrid version in which the maxim that has led them to become a benchmark of product cuisine in Barcelona is maintained: disguise something exceptional as simple.
And that is evident in each of the elaborations that we have been able to enjoy in the cozy place where Lagasca 19 used to be, in the Salamanca district. Here you come to play, yes, being very clear that in this house you work with a raw material of the highest quality that is the common thread of a proposal that seeks to stand out from the rest of the openings that devastate the capital. And that is not an easy task.
When something works…
Why change it? Roca must have thought something like that, a in love with traditional cuisinewhen he decided to replicate, albeit with nuances, the project that in Barcelona only needed a few months to attract the attention of the local public and a couple of years to seduce guides like the Michelinwhich recommends your visit from 2021. Not bad for a place where one goes to eat very well based on portions and have fun in company.
We insist on this group enjoyment, although you can go alone perfectly because there is different spaces within the premises to be able to do it without a problem, because their dishes are designed to be shared. In fact, this is one of its great attractions, since lets you try a little bit of everything without there being any type of limitation derived from the number of diners (they always adapt to the size of the group, whether large or small).
And it is that good cuisine, elegance and informality They don’t have to be at odds. In Barra Alta these three concepts go hand in hand and accompany you throughout the entire experience, which can be through a letter or a tasting menu €56 which, unlike the one offered at the parent company, allows you to enjoy a main course without having to share it with the rest. It is already known that in many places in our country it is very common to share starters and first courses, but the second is chosen (and eaten) individually.
An example of appetizers is the addictive ‘Scallop and lobster tartar’, which is based on crunchy corn toast, its spectacular oysters, which we will talk about later, or its already famous ‘Russian style lobster salad’ worked at the moment. And if we had to highlight a main one, although it would be complicated because they are all at a very good level, we could talk about the ‘Joselito acorn feather’which is accompanied by potatoes, peppers and chimichurri, or the ‘Calamarcitos de playa’, which, as with the meat, exceeds the point of cooking.
Before sneaking into your pantry, it should be noted that in the case of the Barcelona Menu, in case you are passing through and want to get to know it, all dishes are to share and consists of seven passes plus a dessert. In Madrid, on the other hand, the plan consists of four starters to share, an individual main course and a dessert to choose from. Undoubtedly, both options have been designed for the devotees of the kitchen of our mothers and grandmothers who also appreciate nods to international cuisinesuch as Mexican, Peruvian or Thai.
The product, always the product
In a proposal like that of Barra Alta providers play a key role, but part of the merit also lies in knowing how to choose them and, above all, in maintaining “a lasting relationship that is not limited to what is strictly professional”. Chef and owner Daniel Roca tells us about it, whom we pursued after checking the quality of the oysters, another of the great claims of this restaurant since its inception. And for the record, this does not have to always be linked to bombastic names, which also, which we all know
Well, with regard to oysters, which are represented through four different elaborations (one of them natural), we have to congratulate Thierry, the first importer of these French oysters from Barcelona, which has been working with this product for more than two decades. They are responsible for the arrival of those copies of Huitres Poget (Normandy) that you can not miss if you approach here. They manipulate it just and necessary so that the bite is sublime.
And the same can be extrapolated to the acorn cuts, which are always entrusted to Joselito (who work with animals raised in true freedom), or the eggs, which are provided by the boys of Cowards and Chickens, an eminence in the capital. With this last product, by the way, they make a ‘Sea and mountain egg’ that could be considered capital sin. It is served at low temperature, underneath we find a truffled potato parmentier and it is crowned with a kind of carpaccio of sausage and lobster juice. In this case, having to share it is bad.
Neighborhood of salamanca. history and memories
The fun also continues with the desserts, all homemade, with which they also play that “jack, knight and king”. We say this because there is no shortage of one in which chocolate, in five different textures, is the only protagonist (along with olive oil and Daniel’s grandmother, whom it honors); something lighter, fresher and more striking (‘Osmotized melon with vermouth, cream cheese and mint’); and as, the unmissable ‘Cheesecake’, tasty and creamy to the max. A dessert, the latter, perfect for those looking for a sweet ending with a lot of intensity and that should not be ruled out because in Madrid this has become a true obsession. It is worth letting yourself be seduced by each of the four cheeses used.
Finally, note that a fundamental piece in this project is the room manager Cristina Fernandezwhich is in charge of a not too extensive winery, just over 70 references, which invites us to spend a very pleasant time thanks to wines like the amontillado ‘El Príncipe’ or the godello ‘Tilenus Monteseiros 2021’, which we were able to enjoy by the glass and which is at a price, just like the rest of the liquid menu. Both recommendations from the sommelier were more than spot on, perfect for pairing with Roca’s simple but playful dishes.
This Madrid-based Barra Alta, following in the footsteps of the one located in the Sant Gervasi neighborhood (Barcelona), is one of those places that one leaves knowing that to return. Thinking about what dishes on the menu have been left pending for that next visit and being very clear about those that will be repeated. It only remains to decide who will be the companions.
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