Wednesday, September 9, 2009

El Velódromo Revisited

You might be interested to know that Felipe and I were finally able to get a table at the Velódromo (c/ Muntaner 213, Eixample, see The Sounder: A Cafe to Love) for something more than a morning coffee. We had attempted to brave the dinner line-up on one or two evenings, but had been unable to resign ourselves to the hour-long wait. Recently, however, we happened to be hungry for lunch at the odd hour of 4:30pm on a Saturday (a fairly late lunch, even by Barcelona standards, where it's common to eat between 2 and 4 pm). The availability of a proper meal at this hour is, in fact, part of what's most convenient about the Velódromo, whose kitchen is open (atypically) from 6am to 3am and where lunch and dinner dishes are served from 1pm on.

In the late afternoon on the weekend, the cafe's pace was easy and the mood slightly hushed. While there were other diners, the place was by no means packed. It was, in fact, the perfect atmosphere in which to linger and relax in the gorgeous high ceilinged space.

When we asked for the menu, the table was prettily laid for us with a white tablecloth, virtually towel-sized napkins and pleasantly heavy silverware. The choice of dishes, while small, was interesting, ranging from stewed tripe to pig's feet (manitas de cerdo) to rabbit to Valencian paella for two. All are traditional favourites. We ordered the paella along with ham croquettes from the tapas menu to start and an exceptionally good flan to finish. The paella, which arrived in an enormous cast iron tureen, was just slightly soupy with lovely bits of rabbit, mushrooms and cuttlefish (sepia) and left us thoroughly satisfied.

I should mention that, while the prices of the competently prepared dishes were in themselves reasonable, the bill quickly added up. This was largely because the beverages are more aggressively priced than is usual and easily amounted to the better part of the cost. Our relatively light meal for two with drinks came to about 37 euros. Whether you consider that reasonable will largely depend on the value you put on the pleasure of dining in such a well turned out spot.

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