The latest opening on Sant Antoni’s impossibly trendy Carrer Parlament is the Scandinavian-looking Lando on the secret-to-the-point-of-obscurity Passatge Pere Carders. The stripped-out, industrial interior with polished concrete floors and a hefty concrete bar reminds me of my favourite place to eat in Malmö—the Saltimporten Canteen should you be headed that way—which immediately makes me feel warm towards it despite the austerity. Filament bulbs dangle seductively from the ceiling giving the place a welcoming glow, and the service is genuinely friendly and caring. I feel like I’ve died and woken up in the ‘hygge’ bosom of Copenhagen, which, as winter approaches, is no bad thing.
The owners admit Fergus Henderson’s St John Bread and Wine was their muse, though they brought in illustrious French Chef Bernard Benbassat, who’s also master of macrobiotics, to oversee a menu that’s solid in that French bistro way, yet somehow light. Most importantly, his is a menu brimming with plates of food you want to eat: rosemary rabbit rillettes, mussels in leeks and cream, potato tortilla with sea urchins, the best tarama I’ve ever had and a kilo chuletón for sharing, alongside a carefully chosen wine list of Spanish and French bottles. For now, these ‘snacks’ are served only at the bar, which makes it a dependable kind of a place to zip in for a quick bite and a glass of wine without a reservation.
Mark my words you’ll need a reservation before the month is out to stand a hope of bagging a spot at the mix of round and square tables scattered through the rest of the space, where keenly-priced, ingredient-centric, three-course lunch and dinner menus (there’s no á la carte), are as solid, tasty and unfussy as the food served at the bar. Think updated classics like endive salad with smoked wild salmon and miso vinagrette, juicy onglet on pureed potatoes with lemon, and flaming crêpe suzette. All hail the return of non-showy food at real-life prices.
Passatge Pere Calders 6. Sant Antoni. Tel. 93 348 5530. www.lando.es.
Open Tue-Sat 1pm-midnight. Closed Sun & Mon.
Lunch menu incl. glass wine/beer €18; Dinner menu not incl. wine/beer €35.