I visited a restaurant last week that deserves a mention. I had my camera but didn’t take notes so apologies for the unusually brief and sketchy overview.
Romero (www.romerobcn.com, +34 93 457 06 40 – Bailén 115, 08009 Barcelona) is a new Eixample restaurant owned by Venezuelan chef José Antonio Camacaro León. Its attractive brick-lined interior seats about forty diners and it makes the most of the limited space although the lighting in the back could perhaps be improved.
The thing that is most immediately striking is the price of the menú del día: a crisis-busting €10.90 with a €3 supplement on a couple of options. Bread and wine are also included. That puts Romero firmly in the budget category for this part of town but it punches well above its weight and on cooking terms can be compared with places charging one-and-a-half to two times as much.
The food is modern and attractively presented but unpretentious. We had vegetable raviolis with mushrooms
…and an avocado and herring roe salad as starters. Both were extremely good, the ravioli hitting the right umami notes and being rich without over-filling and the salad fresh and well balanced.
After that we had lamb chops with “mint romesco”. It was a perfectly good plate of lamb chops with a perfectly good accompaniment but I’m not sure where “romesco” came into it. There certainly didn´t seem to be any nyora peppers involved which to me means it’s simply not a romesco, regardless of whether it’s thickened with nuts or not. Naming aside, it tasted fine and went well with the lamb and vegetables.
We paid a €3 supplement and had the duck confit which was a good decision. Tender and flavoursome it was marred only by a slightly over-salty reduction that had been left fractionally too long. I mention it reluctantly because it feels like unwarranted criticism: the dish was excellent and nit-picking to that degree is unfair given the price. It’s a sign of the quality at Romero that one naturally tends to draw comparisons with more expensive restaurants and rate the dishes on offer on that basis.
Deserts were also good, the wine by the glass was very acceptable and the service attentive. The overall quality of the cooking was very high and the whole experience was a satisfying and enjoyable one.
Romero isn’t a restaurant that’s worth a special visit for food tourists but for locals or visitors who are in the area and looking for somewhere reliably good at a very attractive price, I can solidly recommend it.