La Rambla, perhaps the most famous of all of Barcelona’s boulevards, has found a distant relation located on perhaps one of Soho’s most notable streets, Dean Street. The third solo instalment from chef and restaurateur Victor Garvey, Rambla offers the finest Catalonian cuisine on a menu which is divided into three sections – Cru – raw & cured; Mar – seafood; and Muntanya – mountains.
The night we dined at Rambla it was just before service had kicked in, however the room had already started to fill and empty tables were few and far between. We opted for an evening at the counter where luckily for us, we had a front row view of Garvey and his team effortlessly delivering small plates to the pass; which nevertheless made choosing what to eat no easier a decision!
Cava in one hand and the simple yet overwhelmingly difficult menu to choose from in the other, we looked upon Garvey for suggestions; who was more than happy to help. After much deliberation, we opted for toasted sourdough bread from Hedone, which came with aioli (garlic and oil) that was ground fresh at the table with a pestle and mortar which could of come from Midas himself, absolute liquid gold.
Alongside the aioli we ate blistered pardon peppers which were served with a yellow pepper and garlic dip. There was something Wicked about them and in that I mean they were very similar in appearance to that of Elphaba, the wicked witch of the west’s fingers; that being said they needed no help from water to melt in our mouths.
Pan con tomate or in layman’s terms toasted sourdough bread topped with bull’s heat tomato relish. Simple yes, but the tomatoes on toast highlighted great produce Garvey is using at Rambla. Baked nevat cheese was everything you could imagine; oozy, gooey decadence paired with a single line of crudités in perfect formation plus accompanying grilled bread.
Cured salmon rulada was delightful, incredible even, armed with forks we battled for the last mouthful. Cured in house then shaped into cylindrical shaped wraps filled with fried sweet potato, red onion escabeche and horseradish, topped with slices of radish. Baby raf tomato and fennel salad topped with roasted hazelnuts was described as delicious by my guest, we actually ate this after dessert as it was going spare as we continued to test the structural integrity of the stools from which he sat.
Anytime octopus is on the menu you just have to order and hope it will be everything you eagerly anticipate and more, in Garvey’s case; grilled octopus with crispy garlic and tarragon alioli was mouth-wateringly good! Delicate morsels of soft flesh were quickly inhaled within moments.
Pudding came in the form of torrija a Catalan take on a pain perdu. Not often it can be said that I get excited about a dessert but this was dreamy, consisting of slices of bread soaked in milk with pistachios, served warm and topped with a scoop of raspberry ice cream; we once again crossed forks over sweet caramelised corners.
Soho stalwarts the Groucho Club, Quo Vadis and Dean Street Townhouse all neighbour the sixty cover restaurant, but let it be said Rambla holds its own and some, offering authentic Catalonian cuisine with fantastic value for money.
For more information on Rambla, see here.
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