Photo by Sam Zucker.
“Casa Bonay is more than just a hotel, it’s a way of life,” said Inés Miró-Sans as we sipped tangy, mint-infused Vietnamese lemonade and I fiddled with my camera tripod. “This project [the hotel] is the fruit of three years of work,” she told me. “We have tried to put everything that we love into this space.”
Along with business partner Luis Rullan, Miró-Sans is the co-founder of the new Casa Bonay boutique hotel located on Gran Via, close to Plaça de Tetuan. The hotel is housed within a stunning neoclassical-style building dating from 1869, meticulously restored and retrofitted to accommodate not only hotel guests, but also a dual-purpose restaurant, a bar/lounge with DJs, food and cocktails, a speciality coffee shop (Satan’s Coffee Corner) and a cold-pressed juice shop (Mother).
The international comfort food (from boeuf bourguignon to umami-packed Korean mussel soup), craft cocktails and whiskey bar in the Libertine lounge area of the hotel look delicious. The modern, market cuisine and fusion of flagship restaurant Elephant Crocodile Monkey entices diners with flavour-focused dishes such as oak-grilled duck over tomatoes and parsnips and fried cauliflower with mixed cheeses and chilli vinegar. Even so, it was the simple but vibrant Vietnamese food of their Têt lunch concept that whet my appetite.
Têt is based in the same kitchen and dining room as Elephant Crocodile Monkey—the former only exists during the day, while the latter comes to life at night. The head chef in charge of Casa Bonay’s various food offerings is Estanislao Carenzo. Though Argentinian by birth, he has spent the majority of his life living in Japan and South Korea and travelling frequently throughout Asia, which has left an indelible mark on his creative cooking style. Service in all areas of Casa Bonay is excellent, and the zen-like serenity that pervades their dining room is conducive to a relaxing meal with friends, a date or even a casual lunch meeting.
Photo by Sam Zucker.
Têt offers fresh, savoury and sweet Vietnamese classics that satisfy without being overly heavy. Star dishes include the nem rán (a crispy pork and prawn roll served with a medley of fresh herbs, lettuce and crunchy pickled vegetables), roasted boniato (sweet potato) with pepper and herbs, big steaming bowls of aromatic phở (the quintessential Vietnamese beef and noodle soup, spiked with pungent fish sauce, sweet palm sugar, cinnamon, ginger and toasted star anise), and the grilled lubina (sea bass), fork-tender and served whole over a bed of peanut and crispy shallot-studded jasmine rice with a salad of tender greens, pickled and fresh vegetables, and bunches of fragrant coriander, basil, chives and mint.
With lunch every day and plenty more to pique the interest of Barcelona’s curious diners, Têt and Casa Bonay are very welcome additions to the city’s gastronomic scene, joining the lineup of trendy hotels serving as social hubs around which the creative and culinary cultures of the city revolve and thrive.
Têt. Gran Vía de les Corts Catalanes 700.