Ugly but beautiful and worth the trip

Bicnic

It’s certainly not the prettiest dish I’ve ever eaten.

Nor is the menu description the most lavish: “Lentils stewed in duck broth with foie gras.”

But, sod me, it was among the tastiest mouthfuls of food I’ve eaten in a long time.

And ridiculously fragrant, too.

So much so that I tucked straight in and forgot to get a picture – taking the the snapshot here only as an afterthought when I’d already dolloped a spoonful of the stuff on my plate.

Bicnic

Apologies, for it really doesn’t do justice to a dish that’s the ultimate comfort food.

A marriage of humble lentils, cooked so that they retain their shape but are obligingly soft, with lobes of indulgent foie, all held together by a reduced broth that was flavour-packed.

The unfortunate thing for us Brummies is that you need to jump on a jet to Barcelona to try it.

The lentils and foie are served at Bicinic, a place with a growing reputation in the city’s trendy and buzzing Eixample district just a short walk from the touristy shit-spots near La Rambla.

Bicnic

This is a joint at which to order lots of dishes to share.

The thrust of the menu is suitably Spanish, but expect nods to other cuisines, too.

First came Super Ravioli II – silky sheets of pasta draped over Iberian pork and lobster in a sauce américaine updated by being made with coconut milk sharpened with sea buckthorn.

This was by far the gentlest dish of the evening – aromatic and dreamy.

Bicnic

Next, the flesh of precisely cooked striped ray flaked beautifully off cartilaginous bones and was accompanied by a pokey black garlic alioli, bitter green leaves and a fabulously deep seafood sauce.

Veal cheek that we were served had been cooked long and slow so that it fell apart at the merest touch of a knife.

It came with a buttery oyster mushrooms and a boletus sauce strong on fungal flavours and so rich that it was mouth-coatingly sticky.

Bicnic

Beneath lay Jerusalem artichoke puree to add a welcome note of sweetness to balance the thumps of umami.

Dessert was a gorgeously refreshing combo of blackcurrants, shiso and espresso.

None of this was food that would win a beauty contest.

All of it showed a kitchen with extravagant skill and understanding of ingredients, a fertile imagination and a total lack of ego.

Bicic doesn’t have a Michelin star. I predict that the blubbery bestower of such trinkets will soon award one.

This place is an up-and-coming star.

Bicnic

Need to know

We paid around £100 for two with wine.

Lunchtime deals are available.

There are vegetarian options.

Bicnic

Carrer de Girona, 68, 08009 Barcelona, Spain.

http://www.bicnic.com

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