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Beriestain was already a well-established up-town interior designer when he decided to dive back into his first love earlier this year. His self-named restaurant, concept store and florist shop pays homage to the Chilean food-loving family he grew up in. Call it ‘haute health’ if you like with a crackling café-bistro vibe that befits an eye-boggling look that leaves you in no doubt of Beriestain’s designer credentials. Think sage green, dove grey and mustard banquettes and deeply comfortable armchairs arranged around marble-topped tables edged in gold, with multi-tiered skirted chandeliers dripping from two-storey ceilings.
On a mid-week lunchtime without a reservation our only options are at the bar or at a large, communal round-top table (the top spot by the way if you’re dining alone) where we’re treated to impeccable service by handsome waiters in navy linen aprons, to match proper linen napkins, quality glassware and satisfyingly heavy knives and forks. The place oozes class, but what is this ‘haute health’ I hear you ask? It’s what Beriestain likes to eat obviously, but mark my words it’s also the new ‘it’ gastronomy where menus are split not just into snacks, entrées, mains and desserts, but into vegan, fat free and celiac tolerant (give or take the odd 60-day aged steak and truffled French frie) and executed with a refined elegance that booms with flavour.
My ceviche is so freshly made that our chap in an apron asks if I’m OK to wait the 15 minutes it will take to marinate? OK? I want to hug him, and when the piquant, dazzlingly fresh, lime-wasabi-sesame marinated seafood and red onions arrives it’s one of the best I’ve had this side of Lima. As is a main course salad of avocado, fennel, fresh mixed herbs, pea shoots, asparagus, Kenyata green beans and pesto dressing. It’s not terribly big, but it is incredibly tasty; the sort of thing that makes you feel like you’ve just had a jog round the block and that, to my mind, is only rightly followed by a sweet, sharp, creamy lemon meringue pie made with almond crumble so the wheat-free crowd can have some fun too.
It’s not the cheapest lunch spot in town admittedly, but done right it is the sexiest kind of health kick.
Pau Claris 167 (Eixample Dreta)
Tel. 93 515 0782
Open Mon-Fri 8.30am-3am, Sat & Sun 9.30am-3am. From €25 for two courses + glass of wine/cava. No lunch menu.