Photo by Patricia Esteve
It wasn’t until I had lunch at Wushu with Lillian Ortega, that I realised they make the greatest iced green tea; an invigorating blend of green tea over ice with lots of lemon and mint leaves. Usually I’d have a glass of wine or beer, but the tea was something Lila was big on. “Actually I hate green tea,” she grinned. “But I know it’s really good for you and this isn’t really like green tea at all.”
I’d wanted to meet Lila since I first discovered her blog, www.comerconlila.com, about a year ago. We’ve got the same tastes Lila and I, and I was curious about her take on the local dining scene. Born in Colombia, she’s been in Spain for 13 years, studied creative writing in Madrid and wrote her first review there, anonymously, about Bazaar, in the trendy Chueca district. Gradually she discovered her passion. “Being in restaurants for me was like a window into life. It was culture”. In my opinion, comerconlila.com is now one of the best and most reliable restaurant blogs covering Madrid and Barcelona.
She’d chosen Wushu as our lunch destination because, “I like food that is healthy, clean, balanced and light. I’m not so into ‘hot’, but I like fresh herbs, bright aromas, intense flavours. I’ve been sick recently, and places like Wushu manage to satisfy taste buds that are busted, while nurturing a body that needs some serious TLC.”
Lila, I’m happy to say, is now the picture of brightness. A true, shining light. “You order,” I say. “I’ll have what you’re having.” Over plump Vietnamese-style vegetarian rollitos, a moderately spicy, green papaya salad, Pad See Ew (vermicelli noodles tossed with fresh shitake mushrooms, bok choy and ginger) and a creamy Matsaman curry with aubergines and prawns that seems to seep vitamins into our veins, I ask what she really thinks about the Barcelona restaurant scene.
“I think everything got very Americanised there for a while,” she muses. “Lots of chains and a real danger of the landscape becoming over homogenised. We were also seeing a lot of what I’d call ‘easy cuisine’: foie, scallops, that kind of thing. Now I think we’re seeing a return to the classics and the use of more traditional ingredients. Chefs are having to work harder to come up with something interesting and I think that’s a good thing.” I couldn’t agree with her more. Let’s hope the city is listening.
Avenida Marqués de l’Argentera 1 bis
Tel. 93 310 7313
Tue-Sat 1pm-4.45pm, 8pm-11.45pm,
Sun 2pm-4.45pm, Mon closed
Lila’s top tip: “Can Solé can be a little oppressive and a little loud, but it’s a true fisherman’s house in the heart of Barceloneta and you can’t beat their arroz caldoso de bogavante.”
San Carles 4, Tel. 93 221 5012 www.cansole.cat