When Aer Lingus told us that they were cancelling our planned flights to Porto, I was very disappointed. I had been immensely looking forward to visiting the port houses in the Vila Nova de Gaia district and sampling a few fine ports while sitting on the banks of the river Duoro. To compensate, Aer Lingus did offer several rebooking options (at no extra charge!) and so we found ourselves back in Barcelona.
The last time we had visited Barcelona, I had tried to get a reservation in one of Ferran Adria's locations, but I was not successful. This time out though, I secured a reservation at Bodega 1900, a relaxed tapas and vermouth (or vermut) bar, with a focus on traditional recipes, prepared from a modern perspective.
And, oh boy, did Bodega 1900 deliver. From the minute we walked through the narrow green doors, I felt at home. It's gloriously traditional, with lino on the flooring and cupboards lining the walls. Pictures from the history of Bulli line the walls in fantastic disarray. But despite all this, you catch glimpses of waiters using fine kitchen tweezers to delicately position meats on boards, and suddenly you feel that there might be something else going on.
We decided to let the kitchen choose for us, resulting in a stream of tapas, which we could cut off at any time, should we feel we had enough. First up were the iconic spherified "olives" which you pop whole into your mouth before biting down to release a cascade of olive flavours. Sublime, and they're available to buy by the jar to take home! Razor clams in white escabeche sauce come in the shell, fresh as a sea breeze. Russian salad, a Spanish staple which I don't really like due to a horrible experience in Bilbao many years ago, is creamy and moreish, topped with soft flakes of tuna belly meat.
|Razor clams with white escabeche sauce|
|Bodega 1900 interior|
|Russian salad with tuna belly|
|Baby beach squid|
|La rubia gallega (beef tenderloin cured in sugar and spices)|
The next dish blows us away. A deceptively simple salad of tomato hearts with olive oil and immaturely green peas (or beans?) is a statement of intention. It's tomato to the max, taking no prisoners. A bikini sandwich, a Barcelona classic, has grilled cheese oozing out, leaving behind ham and truffle.
|Fresh "Raff" tomato salad|
|Bikini sandwich with cheese, ham and black truffle|
|Green peas with mushrooms|
Finally, we start to move into the end zone with a searingly hot grilled chicken cannelloni with foie followed by umami salty blocks of Flanders aged Gouda. Sweet strawberries and yogurt, are followed by a warm spiced chocolate mousse, served in a dainty china teacup.
|Roasted chicken cannelloni with foie|
|Flanders Brokkeloud cheese|
|Strawberries with yogurt|
|Spiced warm chocolate mousse|
|Castellroig, a local white wine|
I don't often call out service in restaurants, but the staff at Bodega 1900 are really deserving of a special mention. Utterly non-intrusive, cheerful and proactive, they definitely made our meal. Top marks also for recommending a local wine, Castellroig, made mere miles outside Barcelona in the Penedes region, for just €22. It was bright, fresh and uncomplicated, perfectly suited to the seafood and local dishes.
The total for the meal, including two glasses of cava, came close to €150. Bodega 1900 is a tribute to the bodega of yore, where a passerby could grab a glass of vermouth and a bite to eat. It probably didn't cost as much back then, but then again, Ferran and Albert Adria weren''t around back then either.
Bodega 1900, Carrer de Tamarit 91, 08015 Barcelona
Tel: +34 933 25 26 59