Restaurant Reviews

Restaurant Reviews

Text

Fed up with celebrity chefs drizzling sauces over undercooked pieces of meat? I am!

I regularly dine out and am happy to share my restaurant experiences, and views on food, with you.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

el Yantar de la ribera

Restaurant

el Yantar de la ribera
Roger de Flor
08013 Barcelona
Spain

Phone 93 265 63 09

Website www.elyantardelaribera.com This contains a video of the chef cooking.

Overview

As noted previously, Eva and I went to Barcelona a few weeks ago for a well earned holiday. Despite being on holiday, we managed to continue on our mission to seek out new dining experiences and tried out a number of very enjoyable restaurants and eateries.

One of my personal favourites was this restaurant, situated near the Victory Arch some 30 minutes walk from the harbour.

el Yantar de la ribera is a traditional rustic restaurant, that specialises in Castilian cuisine cooked in open wooden fired ovens.

Ambience

el Yantar de la ribera is tucked away on rather quiet and unassuming road, unless you knew where you were going you would miss it. The entrance is modest, a thick old wooden door, behind which is a rather pleasant small entrance vestibule.

The entrance vestibule leads into the main dining rooms, one for smokers the other for non smokers. Now here is a tip, if you like to smoke you will need to book; as they reserve that part for their regulars, who come in at around 10:00pm, and stay to the small hours smoking and drinking after their meal.

The dining room resembles a rustic wine cellar, the tables were neatly laid with white linen cloths and towards the far end of the dining room the chefs laboured in the open plan kitchen (the wood fired oven clearly visible).

The restaurant is clearly very popular with local families, many of the tables were occupied by family groups of varying ages, Eva and I were the only non Spaniards there that evening.

Menu

The menu offered a most wonderful selection of hearty Castilian dishes; black pudding, roast lamb and suckling (spelt sucking) pig were on the menu. I saw no evidence of any form of vegetarian offerings.

Service

The service was of a high quality, although the staff had only a modest command of English. That being said we had no trouble ordering, as the menu was in English and we had a phrase book. I would also point out that of course I speak no more than a few words of Spanish, so it is not my place to criticise.

We were though made to feel very welcome.

Food

We both started with the selection of regional specialties these being ; black pudding and two types of chorizo (one spicy the other mild).

This dish was presented in one large dish in the centre of the table, from which we helped ourselves. The black pudding was rather like haggis, and the chorizos both spicy and mild provided a juicy and flavoursome contrast to the pudding.

The freshly baked bread that accompanied it was an unnecessary, but very pleasant, indulgence.

We selected another dish to share for our main course, this time the house specialtiy; a whole quarter joint of lamb (leg, ribs and shoulder) roasted in the oven.

The cooked joint was proudly borne to our table on a large earthenware dish by one of the staff, who asked us to approve it before he took it away for carving.

Given the size of the portions, the restaurant does not offer vegetables or potatoes as an accompaniment. Instead they provide a rather good quality green salad which, together with the bread, provides a more than adequate accompianmnt to this most noble of dishes.

The lamb itself was absolutely unctuous. The meat tender yet full of flavour, juicy and oozing with goodness; culinary heaven.

I make no apology in stating that we pigged out on this, and enjoyed sucking the bones dry at the end.

Quite unecessarily I opted to try the egg custard to round off my meal. This was rather an interesting dish, as it resembled in taste and texture a traditional school egg custard and a creme brulee all in one. Rather jolly I thought.

When we had finished our meal, we were rather impressed to see that the liqueurs consisted of a large wicker basket of quarter bottles of various spirits (such as vodka) that was deposited on our table together with two ice chilled shot glasses.

The basic idea being that we could have as much as we wanted, at no extra cost.

Now there's something that you don't encounter every day!

We managed a couple, then reluctantly decided that it was time to call it a night.

The meal, which included a bottle of good bottle of Cava and the basket of spirits, came to 80Euros before service.

Overall Opinion

An outstanding restaurant, you would be very foolish not to visit it if you have the opportunity.

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