This new supperclub/pop-up restaurant in Barcelona by Scottish cook and food writer Philip Dundas skilfully combines Caledonia with Catalonia to produce robust, hearty flavours.
Review: Radish Barcelona pop-up supperclub
Barcelona, like many cities, is in the grip of a supperclub boom. Platforms like EatWith are connecting record numbers of tourists (and, I suppose, some locals) with hospitable cooks who provide informal, at-home dining experiences. I must admit, the concept doesn’t really appeal to me. I don’t like communal dining experiences. I’m not keen on the idea of making forced small talk with random strangers in someone’s home during dinner. If I go out with my wife or a friend, I want to give them my undivided attention. If I go out by myself, the seat placement lottery might result in a stimulating and interesting conversation – or an interminable evening stuck next to a bore, bigot or some other variety of complete bloody idiot. And that’s before we get to the cooking, the quality of which can vary wildly.
Fortunately, the food at Radish is outstanding. At its launch event, I also ended up in company of intelligent and articulate guests. Despite my supperclub cynicism, I wasn’t surprised; they’d all been invited by food author and cook Philip Dundas, who is a veteran of this kind of thing. It shows. He has hosted successful pop ups in London for years, attracting praise from professional critics and an adoring public. A regular visitor to Barcelona, he is now planning to run Radish once a month. Even better, it won’t be held in someone’s home but on a beautiful terrace that belongs to the eco-apartment rental company yök. This is the sort of supperclub I can get behind.
We ate Dundas’s lunchtime “midday feast”, the menu of which will probably be modified as he adjusts to the market. It’s described as Catalan-Scottish but leans more heavily on Edinburgh’s traditions than it does Barcelona’s. That’s a good thing. I already know where I can eat great Catalan food here. But great Scottish food? Nope.
A Mary Queen of Scots granita – a frozen Bloody Mary – was followed by a bowl of beautiful cullen skink, a creamy soup made with smoked salmon from Barcelona’s Rooftop Smokehouse. With the sun blazing down on the terrace it could easily have been seasonally incongrous but the soup was so good that no-one cared.
A dish of roast tomatoes with garlic and breadcrumbs – a play on Catalan pa amb tomàquet – then haggis (of course), bull negre (Catalan blood sausage), tomato confit and sweet fresh peas. Apologies for the photo of the already-forked dish.
Then a triumphantly Catalanized rumbledethump (a Scottish Borders potato dish) with anchovies and pine nuts.
A selection of Catalan cheeses served with caramelized Orange marmalade, followed by a glass of cranachan – yoghurt, raspberries marinated in vermouth and crunchy oats. It was followed by wonderful salted chocolate artichokes.
For €29 (€39 for the evening menu) plus drinks (bring your own or buy from the host), Radish offers solid value. This is careful cooking with an emphasis on providing satisfaction, not showing off. I grew up near Scotland so it’s fun for me to see these dishes reworked to fit the culinary context of my new home. Even without the boost of emotional context, however, its simply enjoyable food in a very pleasant setting. Phillip is a relaxed and experienced host and, more importantly, an accomplished cook. If you aren’t an antisocial misanthrope like me, you can go and make conversation with strangers as you enjoy your meal, or – even better – book with a group of friends and make it your own. Radish is a professional, polished pop-up experience I can firmly recommend.
Radish Barcelona: Book through EatWith