Underground Restaurants Making a Splash in Barcelona
Underground restaurants — clandestine dining operations run out of people’s homes or other locations — have created quite a buzz in the past few years, particularly in large cosmopolitan cities such as London, Buenos Aires, Paris and New York. These spaces are great for young cooks looking to hone their skills and dodge the costs and regulatory hassles associated with opening a restaurant. Up until now I hadn’t heard of an underground restaurant operating in Catalunya (I guess the idea is that most people don’t hear about them), but Granada’s Ideal newspaper reported on the phenomenon now taking place here in Barcelona, specifically in a dry cleaners shop in the Eixample called Dontell:
The entrance is discreet and is accessed by using fingerprint reader. The idea is to create a new concept in restaurants that attract customers not only with good food, but also with the “hook” of the clandestine. This relies on the idea that he who knows about even the most hidden spots is a true ruler of space and city. And in this way, the clandestine is exploited 100%. Their website reads “We wash your clothes, tablecloths…and that’s all we can say”.
I find it kind of strange that a “clandestine” place (particular one with a name like “don’t tell” has a website with its address on it, but hey…maybe it’s more gimmick than an actual effort to be hidden.
The article also references another hidden restaurant called Kokun (billed as a “gastro social club”) whose chef, Xavi Manero, makes an interesting mission statement with regard to Catalan cuisine:
“After the recent art cuisine movement, it is now the time to return to the Catalan cuisine we’ve inherited from our grandmothers and from hundreds of years culinary evolution in order to update it, make it sophisticated and turn it into the next great cuisine.”
A noble goal, indeed, and while this talk of “the next great cuisine” may sound lofty, Catalan cuisine boasts a culinary tradition and history that is indeed hundreds of years old and a solid base upon which to build creatively.
Image via Barcelona Unlike