Posted by - 28 March 2011 - No comments

Tapas 24

Tapas 24 is the chic outpost of Catalan-born chef Carles Abellan located in a the basement of Diputació, 269, Barcelona.

From the street you can easily spot the cafe as the outside is flanked by destinctive chalkboard style signage, and bright canary yellow parasols and faux sunflowers.  It's the perfect spot for people watching, so long as you don't mind breathing in exhaust fumes from passing traffic.

In contrast to the exterior, the bar itself is located in a moody and darkly lit basement.  We arrive just before 1pm having spent the best part of the morning eating at La Boqueria, however, by Spanish standards we're early.   Despite this its already heaving, but luckily we manage to bag some stools by the bar.

While we sip on a glass of cava we are handed the sort of laminated menu you expect to find in a greasy spoon rather than upmarket eatery.  There are English descriptions of the dishes. Usually when you see English versions of menus abroad this should be a warning that you're eating in a real dive, add a German and Japanese flag and the alarm bells should be ringing.  Luckily there isn't a Union Jack plastered on the laminated sheet, and apart from us, everyone else at the bar looks like a local.

We start with the Bikini Comerç 24 (8€).  This is Abellan's gourmet take on the humble ham and cheese toastie.  Toasted crustless sandwiches filled with  black truffles, cured iberian ham and buffalo mozarella.  It's delicious.  The earthiness of the truffles perfectly contrasts with the milky freshness of the mozarella.

The McFoie burger (8€) a McDonald's hamburger-size bun filled with a heavenily combination of beef and foie gras, topped with an extravagant foie and truffle mayonnaise is another triumph and I'm not just saying that because I love the name!

And you can't have a burger without fries.  A bowl of crispy Patatas bravas (3.50€) slathered in a spicy tomato and mayonnaise sauce makes the meal, and is a nice change to the limp and heavily salted fries you find in most fast food outlets.

And to finish a few Croquetes de Pernal Iberica (1.75€) - light and fluffy these were some of the best croquettes I've eaten in Barcelona.

Verdict: The food is playful, served fast and indulgent.  It's the sort of place I hope to see more of in London.
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