Accés Restaurant & Lounge, Barcelona
Acces (you’ll remember to stress that final syllable even though I've discarded the accent, wont you?) supplied a mixture of very good and mediocre experiences. But the positives far outweighed any negatives and produced a most enjoyable evening.
Front-of-the-House Manager, Julian, deserves special commendation for his supreme control of proceedings. Like me, he hails from the Home Counties of the good ol’ UK but I have not let that sway my judgement of the fact that he does a terrific job. He is very ably supported by his team… without them it would appear that he runs the show on his own. I did not catch the name of our Russian server but she did wonder if I might be a dentist after I complimented her on her beautifully formed teeth. This was at the point of payment and I resolutely deny that I was looking for a reduction in our bill… she does have lovely teeth!
The décor is a combination of plush and decadent. We’re not quite talking Hotel Pelirocco but my inner lounge lizard was twitching just a little. A chilled music playlist receded into the background as the restaurant filled with customers and their talk, and our orders began to arrive.
I guess I really should give some feedback on the main event… the food. My wife, Jan’s, choices precede mine.
Roast beef, helado de mostaza, remolacha y yema trufada (Roast Beef with Mustard Ice Cream, Beetroot, Truffled Egg Yolk)
How lovely that roast beef remains inescapably English here. This was excellent. A good searing and just enough heat in initial cooking produced thin, succulent and flavoursome meat. Very close to Carpaccio. The ice cream toned down the hit of mustard and beetroot provided earthy and fruity undertones. Jan was totally seduced by something cooked so rare that she would normally baulk at it.
Tortilla liquida con butifarra negra, croutons y setas (Liquid Tortilla, Black Pudding, Croutons and Seasonal Mushrooms)
This read well and ate pretty well too. My reservation would be that flavours remained unpronounced and the texture of croutons was fast veering towards soggy. The butifarra negra also failed to assert itself. Some of the mushrooms had a lovely hit of nutty butter from a hot pan, though. In its defence, this is a de-constructed tortilla which is presented with soup credentials. The whole dish was a triumph-in-waiting. So nearly there.
Paletilla de cordero a baja temperatura deshuesada, parmentier de patata, escaluñas glaseadas (Shoulder of Lamb off the Bone, Parmentier Potatoes and Glazed Onions)
More success. All was brought to the table in perfect harmony and conversation centred on this for a while. Smashing.
Bacalao confitado, ali olí de membrillo, berenjena ahumada, espinacas, jugo de asado (Confit of Cod, Quince Ali Oli, Smoked Eggplant and Fresh Spinach)
Appreciation of my wife’s main was undermined by this. The aubergine was gloriously smoky and sweet but it and the fruity quince could not combat the overpowering saltiness of the cod. I know the process involved in preservation of the fish but chef had seriously ill-judged the soaking needed to make a palatable dish. The cooking was just about faultless with a slab of tender, glassy, flaky fish. All spoiled by constant wincing at sodium chloride overkill. What a shame.
There is no pastry-chef at Acces. ‘Postres’ are simple, honest offerings with little show or panache.
Torrija tibia de brioche y helado de canela (Spongy Warm “Bread Pudding”, Cinnamon Ice Cream)… I think this was described more appropriately as ‘Pain perdu’ on our printed menu.
Coulant de chocolate y helado de vainilla (Chocolate Coulant [I would translate as ‘fondant’] with Vanilla Ice Cream)
Both desserts were tasty and satisfying but had no finesse in presentation which might have left a lasting impression at the end of a meal.
I didn’t dare to test my coffee snobbery so we settled our bill. The equivalent of £75.00 for two, including a bottle of wine, was great value for the mainly lovely meal we had enjoyed.
Make a reservation here when you are next in Barcelona. The whole experience is bound to please you in many ways.
In the meantime, follow them on @twitter where they are celebrating two years of success.