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If you’ve been paying very close attention you’ll have noticed that the new in-drink is champagne. In fact, it’s the new old-drink as the late Keith Waterhouse’s inspired ‘Theory and Practice of Lunch’ will tell you. Back in the 1980s cool Britons loved nothing more than a fry up or fish and chips with a glass of champers—just look at the recent success of London’s Bubble Dogs, which serves hot dogs and grower fizz—it’s just that this being cava country and all, Barcelona has taken a while to catch on. I was musing on this very subject when I took myself off to Pork, the latest project of Els Casals (www.elscasals.cat)—the celebrated, organic farm and one Michelin-starred restaurant near Berguedà—one brisk and wintry lunchtime, only to find 35 bottles of the stuff on their menu. Ah-ha, I thought, creatures after my own heart, though I was a tiny bit disappointed that they only had one bottle by the glass.
Regardless, Pork does ooze a certain decadent spirit in its nouveau-rustic way. As Waterhouse would have it: “There is something ever so slightly wicked about even the most innocent lunch”, and the exposed stone interior with a festive giant pig piñata hanging from the ceiling seems a fitting backdrop to a menu dripping with porcine pleasures (they serve nothing but pork in case you’re wondering) like Extremadura Maldonado jamón, the porkiest house-made pâté and gooey globs of sobrassada, as well as beasts like trotter and ear stew, which you mop up with hefty black bread baked with ‘Steve’s’ beer yeast. Tasty all, but when a place has a real wood grill and oven at the end of the bar, when it comes to mains, cooked meats are the only way to go. Cal Rovira’s papada, a chunk of pig jowl that granted, is mainly fat, is unbelievably tasty, happy fat when seared to the point of render, pork ribs come in manly chunks and fall from the bone in salty, meaty clusters of heaven, and the Morcilla de Puerro from Tolosaldea, is extraordinary, feather light and creamy in ways that morcilla (blood sausage) is not supposed to be. Here Waterhouse and I part ways. He says one must have pudding when out to lunch, I say, not when there’s still some pork in the offing, good man.
Carrer Consolat del Mar 15 (Born)
Tel. 93 555 1212
Open daily 12pm-12.30am. From €25 per person based on two shared charcuterie, two mains, two sides and a glass of champagne.
Text by Tara Stevens.
Photo by Aimee McLachlan.