Is there anything more annoying than going to a restaurant and discovering that it’s closed?
Well, after our not-so-quick siesta and a 15-minute power walk to the location, that’s exactly what happened. It was annoying to say the least, especially as I tend to get hangry when I wake up.
But every cloud has a silver lining, because if that restaurant wasn’t closed I may never of discovered EL 58, and that would have been a darn shame.
From the front EL 58 looks as though it’s just another spanish storefront that you could stroll past on your evening walk, but inside it has layers of paint peeling off the walls that expose the aged brickwork beneath, creating the most beautifully rustic mismatch. The dimmed lights create an air of romance, yet the conversation from the fully-booked tables surrounding you stop it from being over the top. The place buzzes with atmosphere and the tantalising aromas entice you in.
I was lucky enough to get a table without a reservation (probably because I eat early by European standards!) and after sitting down we were handed the menu. Which was Spanish. Because I was in Spain, obviously. But I don’t speak a word of Spanish and whilst I can usually pick some things out from recognising a word or two. It was a bit daunting. Luckily for me, all of the staff spoke English, and were happy to talk me through the entire menu. There were a few things I absolutely wanted to try (pan con tomate ALWAYS) and for the rest, I asked the waitress to surprise me.
The joyful thing about tapas is that each dish is brought to your table as and when it’s ready (in England the dishes always arrive at your table at the same time) and it was just mere minutes before my food started arriving. Unfortunately I was far too hungry to pick up my camera for the first few items, but once the hanger was temporarily sated, I snuck in a few shots.
Patatas Bravas unlike any I have tried before.
Perfectly cooked potatoes with crisp outers and fluffy insides sit beneath intensely deep sundried tomato sauce and the most delicious garlic aioli I have ever sunk my teeth into.
Homemade Spanish quesadillas filled with shredded duck, crunchy onion and melted cheese, served with a tomato and basil blended salsa which was so insanely fresh I pretty much spooned the bowl clean.
Fried chicken served with a honey and wasabi mayonnaise dip.
I’ve never been much of a fan of wasabi, however this dip perfectly balanced the three S’s (sweet, savoury and spicy) so well that I’ve officially converted.
Pan con tomate—freshly baked tomato brushed bread served with jamón serrano.
200 grams of melt-in-the-mouth steak, served with Mediterranean vegetables and couscous that was so well flavoured it didn’t feel like an afterthought.
Cheesecake topped with berry compote and served with berry ice-cream.
Which was a lot more dense then cheesecakes I’ve had before, but was delicious and the ice-cream so smooth and perfectly balanced in flavour that it cut straight through the sweetness without leaving an ounce of bitterness behind.
And a chocolate mousse served with coconut ice-cream that tasted better than the one I was obsessed with in Thailand.
After thoroughly testing the capabilities of the stretch in my outfit, I confirmed two things. 1: the staff are amazing, and 2: the food has attitude. The flavours were incredible and it’s obvious that the chef’s have a true passion for cooking and their confidence and capabilities to experiment and innovate in the kitchen ensure there is something to satisfy every tastebud. It was that good, that I went back the very next evening eager to try more of their menu—and I’d be happy to go back there and eat… Again.
And if you want to—EL 58 is situated on Rambla del Poblenou, 58, 08005 Barcelona, Spain.