Healthy Mediterranean cooking and biodynamic wines
Opened by the owners of the fabled Bar del Pla and Restaurante Pla, Cometa Pla is a bonafide thoroughbred. But unlike its predecessors, this fresh-faced newborn forgoes the rich and traditional flavours of Spain’s historical cookbook in favour of healthier and more creative dishes. Unsurprisingly given its heritage, it is a culinary conquest where even the most curious of diners will be thrilled and delighted.
But creativity aside, there’s a great deal of focus on sourcing the highest quality organic produce from local producers. This is about sustainable ingredients, respectful cooking and healthy eating. And because there’s such a good selection of meat-free dishes on offer, it’s a particularly good option for omnivore-vegetarian couples and groups — a place everyone can get excited about.
The decor is in line with the restaurant’s more delicate take on Mediterranean cooking. Chunky wooden furniture and contemporary light fittings fill the historic locale with a homely glow. It’s vibrant and informal, the sort of place you could quite happily while away an entire afternoon or evening. The staff are passionate and knowledgable and there’s an open kitchen that makes it tempting to sit at the bar and bother whoever's cooking with a barrage of questions.
Start with marinated aubergines and a portion of Head Chef Guiseppe’s preserved mushrooms. Main course dishes include the delightfully fresh and zesty swordfish tatami with citrus (a personal favourite), and the sensational onion tart with a creamy mozzarella foam — it’s really quite inspiring to see what a talented chef can do with something so simple as an onion. The grilled squid with kimchi is a prime example of their intelligent creativity, whilst lamb and veal dishes will put a smile on even the hungriest of carnivores. Vegetarian? How does grilled eggplant with smoked tofu and nori sound?
The creativity continues to flow freely during dessert, with peach pies with matcha green tea cake and lychees, and palate scouring surprises like deconstructed lemon merengue and a pisco sour sorbet.
The wine menu is equally as interesting, featuring a strong selection of natural, organic and biodynamic wines from local boutique wineries. Try the white from the L’apical winery in the nearby Penedes region for a reintroduction to what the legendary Macabeu grape can do.
If you haven’t ever tried biodynamic wines before then rest assured that are every bit as refined as “normal” wines. And this is probably one of the best places you could go to taste some. I suggest speaking to the well-informed staff, who will put a paring menu together to accompany your meal.
Whether you’re an adventurous eater or an ardent traditionalist, you can be sure to discover something new and inspiring at Cometa Pla. Everything has been created with a great deal of care and consideration and there’s a real sense that the staff are excited about what they’re doing. And so they should be. This is proof that eating and drinking healthy can still be a rewarding and sublimely delicious gastronomic experience.
By Ben Holbrook http://www.driftwoodjournals.com
Cometa PlaCarrer del Cometa, 5, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Area: Barrio Gótico
Website: Cometa Pla - Barcelona
Opening hours: Tuesday to Thursday 1–4PM, 7–11PM, Friday and Saturday 1–4PM, 7–11PM,
Phone: +34 646 19 78 45
Metro/Bus: Jaume I