Routa restaurant crisis menu
When you think of high-end 'foreign' restaurants in Barcelona, what comes to mind? Certainly, there are more Japanese, Thai and Argentine places than you can shake a stick at but considering that nearly a fifth of Barcelona’s population is from somewhere else, there’s not as much variety as you might think. Our Scandinavian friends in particular have left a large hole on the food map and if you wanted to find, say, some lutefisk or pickled herring in Barcelona, you’d have a serious challenge on your hands.
Enter Routa. Named after the frozen layer that covers the lands in winter, this modern Scandinavian restaurant evokes a snowy landscape with its white, minimalist decor. All the colour is left to the chefs, Matti Romppanen and Tero Siltanen. These two young but sickeningly accomplished Finns have served their time in the kitchens of Akelarre, The Fat Duck, Gordon Ramsay and El Raco D’en Freixa and worked as head chef and pastry chef respectively at the Michelin-starred Chez Dominique in Helsinki.
Their experience shows. The food here is nothing short of amazing: a mix of local and Scandinavian produce and cooking techniques, complex but subtle flavours and incredibly detailed and exacting presentation. This is their trademark and each plate is sent out looking like a brightly coloured little Kandinsky with dabs of sauces, bubbles, foam, dots and squiggly dressings.
Highlights might include Baltic herring ice cream, or caramelised foie gras with beetroot risotto, almond soup and liquorice sauce, or maybe monkfish poached in olive oil with puréed garlic, stuffed calamari and langoustine vinaigrette. And as for puds.... well pud isn’t nearly a fancy enough word to describe something like a jellied strawberry carpaccio 'worm', a popcorn crème brûlée or a dish of such perfect little petit fours that they look like they should be displayed in jewellery boxes.
The only problem with all this wonderful food is that not very many people are eating it.
Part of the problem is the price: Routa’s taster menus cost from €42 to €65, plus wines, so in an effort to make their food more accessible, Matti and Tero have just introduced a more economical menu. For €33 you get an array of little snacks and amuse bouche along with three set dishes: lightly smoked salmon with an inventive little troika of cauliflower experiments including caramelised cauliflower soup, pickled cauliflower and cauliflower couscous; the second course is a slow-cooked pork fillet with pumpkin velouté and mushroom ragout; dessert is a play on different textures of chocolate with banana and olive oil ice cream. If you wish to match wines to each course it is an extra €19. It’s still not cheap but if you’re looking for a splurge, you want value for money, and you like cauliflower, it’s hard to find better.
Restaurant Routa, Enrique Granados 10, Eixample, Tel. +34 93 451 1997. www.restaurant-routa.com
Click here for a map showing the location of Routa