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Photo by Tara Stevens
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Cal Pep - Lunch with Niamh Shields
Niamh began blogging about food on her site ‘Eat Like A Girl’ (www.eatlikeagirl.com) five years ago and has since become something of a sensation, particularly in the UK, where she is based. Her colourful descriptions of local markets, produce and restaurants and her mouth-watering recipes soon caught the eye of the food publisher Quadrille and her first cookbook comes out in September.
The lunch: Cal Pep
Smoked salmon montaditos, pimientos Padrón, tuna tartar, jamón ibérico, gooey tortilla, clams with pimentón, and foie botifarra with beans.
How did your blog come about?
I have always loved food, travel and writing and eventually the three of them came together as ‘Eat Like a Girl’. I am now in my fifth year of blogging and I love it. My cookbook Comfort and Spice is a book of recipes for modern lifestyles; quick, delicious dishes for during the week and some more indulgent ones for the weekend. It’s being printed as we speak and will be out on September 5th. I’m very excited.
What brought you to Barcelona and specifically to Cal Pep?
The city has great food, great people and lots of sunshine. What’s not to love? I try to get here as often as I can. What I love about Cal Pep is that it’s so open and informal, a bit like a sushi bar. We booked a table at the back where it was less crowded and asked the waiter to bring a selection of whatever he thought best from the kitchen. It was wonderful.
What dish sums up Barcelona for you?
You can’t beat fideuà [a fine noodle dish cooked in a similar way to paella and finished in the oven so the pasta ‘stands to attention’] and I think you’ve got to have them in Barcelona. You’ve got great seafood too and as for the ham, well, swoon.
What do you think about the food scene in Barcelona generally?
I really enjoy the fact it’s so active, lively and fun. I have yet to explore the fine dining scene, but I enjoy the tapas bars so much I don’t feel that I’m missing out on anything.
Niamh’s top tips:
Katherine McLaughlin’s cheese shop La Seu (www.formatgerialaseu.com) and Bar Zim (jointly owned by McLaughlin and Francesc Mas Gutierrez) next door too, as it’s got fantastic produce and is intimate and warm. All Spanish cheeses too!
Cal Pep Plaça Olles 8, 933 107 961, www.calpep.com. Open Tue-Sat 1pm-3.45pm, Mon-Fri 7.30pm-11.30pm. Approx €50 per head for several shared tapas and wine.