Photo by Patricia Esteve
I’m often asked where can you get brunch in Barcelona. And my answer has always been, unless you want to drop €45 on a buffet at one of the five-star hotels, nowhere very much. This is more a city of quick cortados and a lardy croissant than a place of lazy loitering.
But no matter, for the times they are a-changing and there’s a distinctly Northern European, dare I say New York, whiff in the air. Marmalade is the sister restaurant to Milk in the Barri Gòtic (which also does a brunch), a groovy pile of a place with a darkly sensuous décor of plump leather pouffes and chocolate-coloured velour armchairs against a backdrop of retro orchid wallpaper, moss-green velvet drapes and lanterns dripping in white ostrich plumes. It also has an antique pool table and a playlist that includes Rufus Wainwright and Glenn Campbell. All rather nice really, but sadly it’s 2pm on a Sunday lunchtime, and I’m all alone save for a bloke with a newspaper and a small group way off in the distance.
Marmalade is the vast old Muebles Navarro, and in its new incarnation it has three distinct dining areas plus the bar. It’s a tough place to fill, but they are making all the right moves—English and Spanish newspapers, pleasant music, decent food, cheap drinks—so why isn’t anyone here? Search me.
The brunch menu would do any downtown diner proud: soy smoothies, eggs Florentine (a poached egg with spinach), tortilla rancheros (Mexican style omelette with chorizo and chillies), pancakes with blueberries and maple syrup, and for the holy, fresh fruit with yogurt and muesli.
I go for the eggs Benedict, which are as good as it gets—pillowy whites spilling their golden yolks into a mellow yellow hollandaise. A small mountain of spiced fried potatoes help with the mopping up. The ham is crispy bacon, and the muffin is toasted ciabatta, but I don’t care a jot, because as far as I’m concerned this is brunch. And brunch is what autumn Sundays are all about.
Brunch: Sundays, 11am-4pm, €6.25-€8.50 not including drinks.