Creative Catalan Cuisine
“Mano rota” means “broken hand” in Spanish. It comes from an old saying used to describe someone with an exceptionally high level of skill — the perfect name for this little hub of culinary creativity.
Owners and head chefs Bernat Bermudo (Catalan) and Oswaldo Brito (Venezuelan) met while training at the legendary Hoffman culinary school in Barcelona, before perfecting their craft at some of the world’s finest restaurants.
This period of development was immensely important for both chefs and introduced them to a world of new flavours that the duo combined in sensational style when they teamed up to open their restaurant in the Poble Sec area, Mano Rota.
“We have so many influences, from Peru, Venezuela, Japan, Thailand, Spain” Bermudo says. But although it would be easy to simply label their cuisine as ‘fusion’, these creative chefs refuse to be pigeonholed into one style.
A lot of what they do is Spanish market cuisine, with a great deal of emphasis placed on quality seasonal produce, but the menu features all sorts of international influences: calamari, a Spanish staple, is used to concoct a zingy ceviche with yellow ají peppers (18€), and aubergine, a classic Catalan ingredient, is reimagined with a rich Thai pork sauce (16€).
But for a truly exciting dining experience and a true taste of what these two restless chefs can do, order the set tasting menu (60€). Inspired by whatever is freshest at the market, the it changes with the seasons and rarely remains static long enough to be written down — simply let the staff know if there’s anything you don’t or can’t eat and the chefs will surprise you. Expect creative twists on Spanish classics like Basque-style bacalao ‘kokotxas’ and tuna ‘marmitako’ with peppers and avocado, and more exotic flavours such as ‘aguachile de mejillones’ (mussels drizzled in a spicy salsa of lime, coriander and chilli peppers).
Desserts (7€) include dulce delights like chocolate ice-cream with biscuit crumble and orange drizzle, and reconstructed lemon pie. Wine lovers can choose from a wide variety of boutique bodegas from Catalunya and the rest of Spain — bottles start at around 25€.
Conclusion: Whether you’re looking for somewhere special to celebrate an important occasion or are simply in need of a gastronomical adventure without all the fuss that goes along with traditional fine dining restaurants, this is the place to do it.
Review by Ben Holbrook / November 2016
Mano RotaCarrer de la Creu dels Molers, 4, 08004 Barcelona, Spain
Area: Poble Sec
Website: Mano Rota - Barcelona
Opening hours: Mon – Fri 13.00 – 15.30 & 20.30 – 23.30. Sat 19.30 – 24.00
Prices: 30€ / Tasting menu at 60€.
Phone: +34 93 164 80 41
Metro/Bus: Poble Sec
Barcelona metro map