My favourite restaurants are ones like Platerets where, though casual in nature, they take flavour so seriously that you have to stop and think about the layers of bold seasoning and spice after each exploratory mouthful. I found the mix of Catalan comfort food and pan-Mediterranean dishes at Platerets intriguing, though the token injection of Asian cuisine, such as the salmon in ponzu sauce and tempura squid, was a bit predictable. That said, one of my favourite dishes of the night was the salty and sweet, fall-off-the-bone braised Ral d’Avinyó pork ribs with a sticky glaze of honey and soy sauce. Everything at Platerets is meant to be shared, and there are plenty of options to please any palate.
Quiet on a Wednesday night at around 8pm, the minimalistic dining room quickly filled to capacity. By 9pm, the kitchen was humming, sending little plate after plate out to local couples, clusters of friends, a few tourists and large families who gathered happily around several tables by the bar. I took my seat by the door, with a wall of hefty mason jars full of homemade pickled vegetables behind me, and was met by the smiling owner and manager, Ikerne Ibañez, herself.
Ibañez hails from the Basque town of Getxo, and she created the Platerets concept along with Catalan chef, Eva Pujol, and her friend, Montse Roma. Although there is a hint of Basque Country on the menu at Platerets (namely the gildas, a typical Basque skewer of olives, anchovies, and pickled guindilla peppers that appear on their vermut menu), the main theme here is decidedly Catalan.
I began with a serving of silky morro de bacallà (cod snout), cut into cubes and topped with Kalamata olive vinaigrette and a savoury, sugar-laced tomato marmalade. The texture of the fish was excellent, and the delicately-perched edible flower garnish added an attractive pop of colour. Paired with a glass of La Charla—a crisp, grassy Verdejo wine from the region of Rueda—I thoroughly enjoyed this introduction to Platerets.
The curried chicken croquette came highly recommended, and it really was exceptional; crispy on the outside, rich and creamy in the middle, with a hint of curry that was earthy and pungent without being spicy. I have to say, however, that I am so tired of food being served on little black sheets of slate that, if I never see another of these grease-smeared serving trays again, it will be too soon. Give me a nice white plate any day.
I was just sopping up the remaining pools of tasty olive vinaigrette from my cod dish with a bit of insanely crisp pa de vidre amb tomaquet (glass bread with tomato) when my main dishes arrived.
Presented in a red, cast iron casserole dish, the hearty stew of peas and beans from Llavaneres with black sausage was delectable. A puff of steam escaped from the hefty crock as I lifted the lid, revealing a bed of soft, sweet green peas and baby broad beans inside, simmered in vegetable stock with a rich and tangy garnish of blood pudding and a few vibrant leaves of fresh mint. As a pairing, Ibañez wisely recommended a glass of Sembro, a Tempranillo wine from the Ribera del Duero.
Though the wine paired well with the stew, it truly sang when tasted after the succulent pork ribs served in a rich, mouth-watering sauce of honey and soy. Extremely tender and cooked to perfection, the pork was given a necessary textural contrast by the crunchy curls of fried root vegetables that served as a garnish.
I imagine that, if I had come to eat at Platerets with a group of five or six people, we could have easily ordered the entire menu and had a proper feast (I recommend this wholeheartedly), but having eaten solo on this visit, my handful of dishes sufficed quite nicely.
All that was left to do after I wiped my plate clean of tantalising, pork-infused sauce was to dig into a homemade pot of tiramisu. I really enjoy tiramisu and, though I thought that this one was quite good, it did not have the decadent, custardy zabaglione base I was hoping for, and the overabundance of cocoa powder on the top needed to be thoroughly stirred in after I nearly aspirated the lot, cutting the night short with a violent, chocolate-flavoured coughing fit. Paired with the tiramisu was a wine that I found quite enjoyable. Well, it wasn’t a wine at all. It was an ‘ice cider’—an alcoholic cider from Asturias called Valverán 20 Manzanas that is sweet due to the freezing of the apple must, resulting in a halted fermentation and plenty of residual sugar. More than a small glass of this viscous elixir would surely end in a brutal hangover, but for a final touch of sweetness at the end of the meal, it was perfection.
Platarets. Milà i Fontanals 29. Tel. 93 463 6585. Tues-Thurs 12pm-4pm & 7.30pm-11pm. Fri-Sat 12pm-4pm & 7.30pm-12.30am. Closed Sun-Mon.