El Born is my favorite neighborhood in Barcelona. I get lost and discover new places every time. It’s something about the endless, quirky streets and the mysterious, old and historical buildings. It’s almost like they can talk. This night on the other hand, we walked into something brand new.
We had been out for dinner in Eixample. On our way back home, we asked the taxi driver to drop us of at some random place in El Born, so we could take a stroll on our way back to the hotel. We ended up walking by something that looked like a bocadillo deli, which there are many of in Barcelona. And it actually was, they served pastrami sandwiches. For that type of venue, offering only a few seats as in bar chairs, the clientele looked very over dressed. It didn’t take us long before we got the feeling that this must be something special and we decided to go in. Through a door camouflaged as a fridge, suddenly we were in something that felt like a parallel universe.
I love speak easy places. They are so cool and you almost feel like you’re doing something illegal or wrong, like when you were a kid and did things you weren’t aloud to do.
Luckily we came early and there were several places to sit. The bartenders, dressed in 20’s style attire, greeted us while they worked their magic behind the bar desk. We understood that the place to sit would be at the bar where we could watch the show.
After having a quick look at the menu, it was clear – this was going to be an experience. I went with the Mediterranean Treasure, served in a sea shell with thyme and rosemary smoke. The photo just not justifies the experience.
It was served in a closed box. When opened, it really was like discovering a treasure. It had a leaf on top that tasted like oysters.
The Man, being exactly that, went with the darkest and heaviest one; Solera Presidente. All brown spirits with a banana liquor and sherry, the strongest one on the menu. It came in a glass pipe and you would drink it just like you’d smoke it. For me, always having a sweet tooth, there were cotton candy on top.
Blown away by the artistry performed before us and the experience we had been served, we were ready for the next one.
I decided to try the Breakfast in Kentucky. “Marker’s Mark infused with bacon, maple syrup, bitter orange marmalade, lemon juice, egg white and angostura bitters.” This was my favorite. And the presentation was adorable.
One of the bartenders serving iced tea with dry ice.
Before we knew it, it was later than late and the cocktail bar was closing. We walked home, only talking about this amazing experience. This night was probably one of the most memorable ones during our trip to Barcelona. Paradiso was something unexpected and surprising, and definitely one for the books.