Mid-August, midday; having suffered through the life-leeching bureaucratic processes of registering a newborn. We’d survived the paperwork but the heat was beating us down. Pushing a pram through the Born district, in desperate need of sustenance and a sit down, I suddenly remembered that we were close to somewhere on my ‘to-try’ list: Sagás (Plà del Palau nº 13, +34 933103424, http://www.sagaspagesosicuiners.com/), the sandwich bar recently opened by Michelin star-winning chef Oriol Rovira. As in his main restaurant, Els Casals, most of the ingredients come from Cal Rovira, run by his brothers.
The long bar seemed to be the best place to sit but with a baby to park that was out of the question. We’d arrived early so there was no problem finding us a table, although the space for eating was quite cramped and uncomfortable: Sagás isn’t a place to linger. It is attractive, however, with a light atmosphere, lots of old photos and some gorgeous wooden tables.
The sandwich menu is split into two parts, “Orígens” and “Món”. The first presents dishes based around traditional local flavours, the second a selection of international classics.
We started off with some €6 patates braves. (Camera phone pics only today, sorry).
As good as they look, with real garlic mayonnaise on top and a spicy romesco underneath. We devoured them and fought over the last drops of sauce.
I chose a porchetta sandwich from the “Orígens” selection while my wife went for a classic burger from “Món”. Neither were cheap, at €11 and €12 respectively but after the braves our hopes were high.
We were not disappointed. The burger came first, wrapped in a paper parcel which opened up to reveal this medium-rare treat:
Galician beef, real cheddar cheese, tomato, lettuce, cucumber and onion in hand-made bread. Simple and delicious and probably the best-tasting burger I’ve had in Barcelona although those of Kiosko round the corner are bigger, substantially cheaper and come a very, very close second.
There was also a selection of condiments available but they weren’t really needed:
That said, some sort of pickle or chutney — although not especially local or a tradition of Spain or Catalonia — would have perfectly accompanied my porchetta.
Served on a coca flatbread, the herby roast pork was too greasy and too rich yet simply too delicious to fault. This is finger-licking food, the sort you chase around your plate with the last scraps of bread.
There wasn’t any crackling, which would have made it pretty much perfect, but it’s highly-recommended anyway.
The baby was still asleep so we took advantage of the rest and ordered some desserts too. Described as rovell en estat pur, mine wasn’t actually a plain egg yolk but in fact an egg yolk custard, a variation of the ubiquitous Spanish ‘flan’ with some sponge cake and cream.
Simple, perfectly-made, cheap (€4) and excellent. This is how I want my traditional food in restaurants.
Fitting the same description and sharing the same price tag was the llet de ovella — sheep’s milk — which was actually cuajada (curd) served with some honeycomb.
I love cuajada, my wife loves honeycomb, so this was finished off pretty quickly…
The final bill for two people, including coffees and drinks, was just under €50. That’s not a cheap lunch, but of you can get your head around the idea that you’re paying for sandwiches and just look at it as a meal, I think it’s well worth the money. The service is friendly, the food is great, the restaurant is attractive and it’s a relaxed way to eat. It’s certainly somewhere I’d revisit.