Els Tres Porquets
Els Tres Porquets is an enoteca-tapas bar-restaurant owned by the same people that have Can Pineda in Poblenou that opened in September. I went one lunchtime with a wine-obsessed friend who’d just arrived from London, lured by the promise of a 250-strong international wine list. Unfortunately there are only eight chalked up at any given time as available by the glass, and his disappointment was palpable.
The place itself, however, is cheery in that brightly-lit Andalucian kind of a way and is dominated by the bar with a few high and low tables scattered around it. Dishes—a little more than tapas, a little less than raciones—are chalked up on another blackboard.
As the name suggests, ‘The Three Little Pigs’ specialises in Iberian pork products and though you can have fish and seafood, and the odd rogue plate of Chinese-style beef, this is where it’s at. We share a plate of the sweetest, meatiest, most melt-in-the-mouth charcuterie piled onto a dense and chewy pan con tomate drizzled with an extraordinarily grassy oil. We have a deep cast-iron pot generously filled with delicate pork albondigas resting in a gravy of porcini, which renewed my faith in the humble meatball. Then a dish of pimientos padron, sweet and tender, and still bright green rather than blackened by the oil.
The best however was something I’d never had before: a carpaccio de secreto (a particularly succulent section of pork between the shoulder and neck) that was seared, sliced and rare in the middle then drizzled with oil, vinegar, loads of black pepper and parsley to form its own dazzling vinaigrette when mixed with porcine juices. I would return for that dish alone, along with the croquettes de ceps that they’d run out of.
It’s not your conventional three-course menú, but after a few tapas and a couple of glasses of Luberri (Rioja) it was some of the best traditional tapas I’d had in a while.