30 April 2012

La Tomaquera - rude catalan cuisine at its best

"come any closer and the bread gets it"

However you look at it, La Tomaquera is “special”. There’s no telephone, they don’t accept reservations and if you ask to see the wine list, the waiter will march off chuckling to himself, only to return (much) later with a carafe of house wine – you’ll drink what they drink. And that’s after he’s served the locals at the table next to you first, even though they arrived ten minutes later.

What may be brusque to some is charming to others, but lets be honest - you’re here for the food and that's what will get you hooked.  They know that as well as you do, and as they casually slide an appetizer of delicately boiled ous de guatlla (boiled quail eggs) onto the chequered tablecloth, you may just catch a proud glimpse in the waiter’s eye. Of course, Catalan cuisine wouldn’t be complete without the classic pan amb tomaquet (bread with tomato), in this place a Do It Yourself version, rubbing whole tomatoes onto the toast followed by a generous glug of olive oil and sprinkle of crunchy sea-salt. 

Then it comes to the grill, a banquet of juicy, grilled conejo (rabbit, a catalan delicacy), botifarra (typical Spanish sausage) and porc. In most cases a parillada is the best option for larger groups, a selection of mouth-wateringly tender, locally sourced cuts. The caracoles (snails) and alcachofas (artichokes) are other catalan specialities well worth a try. And that’s before you’ve even considered the famous crema catalana or rice pudding.