Exsquisite dining in Barcelona: Geloch Restaurante

Geloch Restaurante is an example of fine dining done brilliantly.  It delivered a spectacular 10-course degustation menu.  Zorba and I scored each dish out of 10 – playing our favourite Master Chef judges game that we sometimes do when we go out.  Overall, Zorba and I scored Glenoch 85 out of 100 with five dishes scoring the perfect 10 out of 10 – in our scoring system that means we could eat the dish again and again and again and love it every single time.

The sophisticated dishes were served in tiny degustation serves, all beautifully presented, explained accurately in detail, and tasted gorgeous.  The dishes that didn’t get perfect scores failed to do so merely because of our palate and our own particular tastes. To other diners however, they may have been the best dishes of the menu.

Our menu consisted of the dishes below, together with our comments and score:

Rose petals with lychee cream

  • Delicate subtle flavour, teeny tiny miniscule portion
    [pictured below on gold plate on the right of the black onion cake]
Score: 6.5
Black onion cake, sweet onion foam, fried onion

  • Light, moist, savoury and sweet balanced, a lovely surprise

Score: 8.5
Carrot and orange nitro popcorn

  • Nitro smoking, Blumenthal-esque, interesting, fun
Score: 6.5
Shitake broth with spider crab ravioli and Iberian ham DO Extremadura

  • Gorgeous, salty, every mouthful was Moorish, sensational, delicious, faultless
Score: 10
Grilled red prawn with pisco, cabbage and hibiscus

  • Beautifully presented, three types of cabbage, balanced when all elements eaten together
Score: 7
Black turnip with veal marrow, egg yolk and black truffle

  • Amazing aromas, rich yet delicate, every mouthful was a taste explosion.  Beautiful to eat
Score: 10 +
Beetroot gnocchi, veal sweetbreads, codfish tripe, pardon pepper cream and carrot and passionfruit drops

  • Delicious flavour, thick balanced sauce, unusual (I don’t usually enjoy offal), but I wanted to lick the plate!
Score: 10
‘Secreto Iberico’ 36 cooked sous-vide with selected roots and seasoned mushrooms

  • Unbelievable. Sensational tender rich beautiful pork shoulder slivers with shitake mushrooms, porcini powder, with yucca foam [yucca is a kind of root vegetable that tastes a little like a turnip]
Score: 10 +
Assorted cheese course with banana-honey, coffee crumble, caramalised endive leaves and baked aubergine sorbet

  • All flavours worked really well together.  Unusual to have a sorbet that tastes of eggplant, but I really enjoyed it
Score: 9.5
Toasted wheat ice cream, milk foam, orange textures

  • Smooth creamy ice cream, shards of orange looked like rice, not overly sweet.
Score: 9
Bread was toasted crunchy and quite dry, almost like a crostini.
Lovely to eat, hopeless to use to mop up sauces.
Score: 8
Wine:  Lalama Ribeira SacraA small particular winery in rural Spain was smooth, luscious and gorgeous without being too strong or too gusty. At less then 30 euro a bottle, it was an excellent recommendation from our waitress Score: 9

Our total bill was 168 Euro. Quite expensive, but then again, when you think about the quality of what we were served, I thought it was cheaper than what you would pay for a similar experience in Australia.

The restaurant was intimate, classy, and overall, it was a fantastic fine dining experience.


Glenoch Restaurant
C. Bailén, 56, Barcelona
Tel: +34 93 265 82 98
e-mail: restaurant@gelonch.es

Authentic Spanish Flavours, Perth

A local favourite of mine, Spanish Flavours offers simple, honest, tasty Spanish fare without the rip-off prices that are sometimes found in Perth.  I must have eaten here five times in the last three months.  The authentic tapas include the best ever jamon croquettes, coated in crispy crumbs with silky smooth potato and smoked ham centres.  To. Die. For.  When in season, the white marinated anchovies just melt in the mouth, delectably.

Other tapas items include authentic chorizo, baked mushrooms, grilled baby octopus, meatballs in tomato salsa and cold meat platter.

Paella is generous and delicious, cooked to order and comes with seafood or without – you choose. Admittedly, Paella isn’t my favourite Spanish dish – I prefer to eat lots of different tapas and a range of dishes, flavours, textures and choices.  And the tapas here are good. As good as the tapas I’ve eaten across Spain.

Delicious paella

One of the best things on the menu is the churros.  O. M. G. The thin crispy on the outside Spanish vertical donuts are fluffy on the inside and served with liquid chocolate.  The chocolate sauce isn’t overly sweet, yet it is delicious.  Not greasy at all, unlike those churros you get at a chain that shall remain unnamed.

Added bonus, Spanish Flavours is BYO.  I love that.  Price wise, a tapas dinner for two consisting of four or fives dishes and corkage will typically cost less than $100, making this place good value too.

Spanish Flamenco dancing

Little Spanish Rosa, the proprietor, and her team of Spanish speaking staff make this little suburban gem a welcoming restaurant with a lovely relaxed vibe.  The decor is simple and the furniture is Spanish taverna-esque.

For my birthday party, I booked the restaurant out, organised a set menu, and upon my request, Rosa organised a team of Spanish dancers to perform a flamenco dance for us (at an additional cost).  It was the perfect finish to a wonderful night.


Spanish Flavours
413 Oxford St, Mt Hawthorn
08 9444 6183
Open for dinner Thursday to Saturday.
Operates as a deli 9am to 5pm Tuesday to Saturday .
Closed Sunday and Monday.

Spanish Flavours on Urbanspoonb

Our last day in Barcelona

Happy Birthday Madeline! It was Hubs’ mum’s birthday today and our last day in Barcelona.  It was also Hubs’ last day with her mum – they won’t see each other until our adventure is over in December.  Unless of course Madeline follows through on her threat that she is going to come to Buenos Aires to stay with us for a month because she will have free accommodation (with us)!!  Cheeky!!

I was very boring on our last day – I spent the day doing things necessary – like going to the post office, shopping, washing, and writing this blog!  Hubs and Madeline caught a cable car to a nice park, had a nice long siesta, and got their things together ready for departure tomorrow.

I was so looking forward to dinner!  For Madeline’s birthday, we decided we’d have dinner at Irati, the tapas bar and restaurant where we had delicious tapas a few nights ago.  I ate at the restaurant – albeit 10 years ago – and it was sensational.  Really, it was so fabulous that I remembered the name of the restaurant and had it engrained into my brain so I could return there some day. 

We were a little early for dinner and resisted the temptation to have tapas and went for a walk instead.  It started to drizzle, then rain, which was not part of the plan!  So we hopped from awning to portico to awning, as well as in and out of shops to stay dry. The restaurant opened at 8.30pm, so we booked a table for that time. 

By 8.30pm we were all famished and I for one was so looking forward to an unforgettable meal.  I ordered Madeline and I a bottle of house Cava, after all, it was her birthday and she enjoyed the bottle of bubbles we had at Picasso’s restaurant, Classic Gotic, the other night.

Some little hors d’ourves came out, three tiny chorizo sausages on a skewer, and they were very more-ish. Luckily there was only one each.  The bread was fresh and still warm from the oven and it was hard not to eat it all and fill up on bread.  I ordered Japanese style ravioli with a crab filling for starters and roast medallions of pork with rosemary ice-cream for mains – needless to say both were sensational.  Particularly the pork – teamed with rosemary ice-cream, it really was a dish to behold and one I’ll remember for a long time.

Hubs had clams cooked in a herb sauce to start, followed by sirloin steak with foir gras for mains.  She really enjoyed both her dishes and would not share any of her clams because she said that they were too good!  She did however let me dip my bread into the sauce they were cooked in so I could taste that!

Madeline had warmed marinated anchovies for starters and cod for mains – and she enjoyed both her dishes. Her anchovies were really beautiful.  Tasting them made me miss Zorba because he loves that kind of food. In fact, he would have loved eating in Irati – - well, all of Spain really.

For dessert we shared one serve of rice pudding. I wanted to compare how the Spanish made it compared to the best rice pudding in the world that we had home delivered in Alexandria (Egypt) that Hubs just loves.  I thought it was lovely and a good comparison – Hubs did not agree, which is precisely what I was expecting.  AS IF anything would be as good as what she gets in Alexandria!  I will say that it is hard to compare – sitting in a classy restaurant with the rice pudding served in posh crockery, as opposed to rice pudding being home delivered in Chinese takeaway style plastic tubs… Not quite the same experience. Taste wise though, they are both pretty good, probably with the Alexandria version taking the prize, by a nose.

All of us were very satisfied with our dining experience and it was a great way to celebrate Madeline’s birthday and our last night together in Barcelona.

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Beautiful Barcelona

After a horrendous 17 hour journey, we were in Barcelona, one of my all time favourite cities (out of Italy and Australia!).  It has been ten years between visits to this city and I was looking forward to getting reacquainted with this great place.

We stayed in two hotels in Barcelona, the first one was Cuitat Vella www.hotelcuitatvella.com on Tallers 66, just near La Ramblas, where we stayed for three nights.  The hotel was 3-star and almost brand new.  And we get free bottled water, as much as we want! Yay!  Our triple room for Hubs, Madeline her mother, and myself was too small.  We were forever tripping over ourselves.  The shower was fantastic and the bathrooms lovely and new.

We were all dead on our first day – too tired from over night travel without any sleep.   I had three hours to kill before Hubs and her mum Madeline arrived from the airport, and I couldn’t sleep because our hotel room wasn’t ready.  I went for a walk along La Ramblas and the memories of my previous trips to Barcelona came flooding back. It was just how I remembered!  I had a delicious coffee with chocolate mousse at the famous Cafe de L’Opera on La Ramblas – oh how I’ve missed good coffee!!  I bought some fridge magnets to add to my ever growing collection, and had a look in a few shops. I was LOVING being back in Europe. 

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When Hubs and Madeline arrived, we all went for a walk and found a restaurant / tapas bar off La Ramblas and had some lunch Aaka Dinay on carrer Petxina.  Delicious selection of tapas – spanish omelette, baby octopus, garlic prawns, bread with rubbed tomato and a prawn and mango salad.  YUM! 

For dinner, Madeline decided to stay at the hotel and sleep.  Hubs and I went for a big walk around the Gothic quarter before deciding to eat at a restaurant on La Ramblas.  We knew it was touristy, but we both fancied sitting somewhere lively and watching the world go past.  We shared paella and it was ok, not rubbish and not award winning. 

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Day two was a big sight-seeing day on the tourist bus. We went everywhere – all over the city. We chose to get off at the Park Guella – Gaudi’s famous park.  It was lovely and Madeline really enjoyed it.  We also caught the bus to the beaches to check them out – the city beaches didn’t exist last time I was in Barcelona.  They were nice and we made a plan to spend at least one day at the beach.  The port was really nice too with loads of shops and nice walk way to get there.   Barcelona is really a beautiful city and we loved the sightseeing.

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For dinner, we walked around a bit and couldn’t decide where to eat, so we went back to where we had lunch, Aaka Dinya.  Hubs and Madeline had paella and I had veal.  Both our meals were really tasty.

Day three was dedicated to my favourite sport, shopping!  We caught the metro to Diagonal Mar, a big shopping complex in the financial district.  I didn’t buy too much, but did get some essential items – a pair of cotton cargo pants, a sports t-shirt, and an impractical pair of cool white light cargo style pants.  They were so cheap and look good – and as Hubs said, I’d keep them clean.  Hubba got a good deal on a pair of Geox shoes, great for walking, and Madeline bought a present for someone back home.   We were worn out after shopping and needed a siesta. 

Maybe it’s been ten years since I’ve been to Barcelona – and I still remember the name of a restaurant I had an unbelievable meal in – Irati.   I looked up the name on trip advisor and was delighted to find it still exists and even more delighted to find that it had a very good rating on the website.  That’s where we went for tapas, Irati on cadenal Casanas, 17 – and it was delicious!  It’s only a small narrow place but it’s always packed and it has a small restaurant out the back.  We decided to go there to have dinner one night, maybe on Madeline’s birthday on 14th Aug.

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Day four was when we had to move hotels and checked into Hotel Atlantis, around the corner from where we were.  As we suspected, our room wasn’t ready, but we had prepared for that and off we went to the beach.  The beach was easy to get to, only a few stops on the metro, and it was lovely to lie out in the sun again and swim in the Med.  We had a yummy lunch by the beach, seafood of course, in the afternoon.

Dinner was in Picasso’s first studio – which is now a restaurant called Classic Gotic, on carrer de la Plata in the Gothic Quarter (Merce area). I was excited to be eating there as this is the restaurant my spanish dive instructor in Dahab told me to go to.  Yay! We found it and were about to have a nice meal.  For the occasion I ordered a bottle of house cava, or Spanish champagne, and was delighted that Madeline was enthusiastic about sharing it with me. Hubs doesn’t drink and I was happy someone else was with us so I could share a bottle!

Roast pork ribs served with vegetables was dinner and mine was delicious!  The meat fell off the bone and was very tender and tasty.  At less than 9 euro, it was cheap too.  Happy days.

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Our last two days in Barca (as the football team is affectionately known as – Barsa), were spent doing whatever we wanted. I had my legs waxed standing up – a world first for me.  She used sugar instead of wax and it took ten minutes – with good results. At 11 euro, I was stoked – cheaper than back home.  I also went to the post office, did some shopping, etc etc.  I bought the coolest shoes!  Vespa adidas Italian runners!  I love them!

It was a nice relaxing day. Hubs and Madeline went shopping too and they had a great day together.

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Finally we had tickets to the traditional Flamenco dancing show on at Cordobes, supposedly the best flamenco dancing show in the city.  At 37 euro each, my expectations were quite high.  The show was good, the dancing done with proper vigour and a lot of passion, but some how, it didn’t meet my expectations and I couldn’t help but feel a tad disappointed.   Madeline enjoyed herself and I was really happy she had.  She was also over the moon because she found some Dr Scholl shoes she loved, that are super comfy, and on sale!  Three ticks from Madeline! Style, comfort, and a bargain!

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It rained!! First time I have seen rain in a couple of months!  I am never happy when it rains, but it was nice that the city was washed, so to speak.  We found a little tapas restaurant on our way back to the hotel and didn’t have much – some olives, prosciutto like ham, and some bread with tomato. That was enough for us.

Our last day in Europe – Madeline’s birthday.  I was boring and went to the post office, did some washing, and a spot of shopping in between.  Madeline and Hubs did some sightseeing and caught the cable car to a nice park.  They had a great day!  Tonight is dinner at Irati and I can’t wait!!

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Tomorrow nice and early, we fly to Quito in South America!!  A new continent, a new country, and new adventures await! Hurrah!

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Get me out of Egypt..!

I was so happy that the day I was leaving Egypt was finally here, but I was not ready though for the mission to get to Barcelona.  We had to catch a stinking bus from Alexandria to Cairo, which took, four hours.  We are damn lucky we made it to the bus on time as the taxi to the bus station got stuck in ridiculous traffic and Hubs and I were both stressing that we would miss our bus to Cairo, and hence miss our flight out of Egypt.  Nooooooooooooooo  don’t let me get stuck in Egypt!! I had a good time in Egypt but I’d had enough of the stinky sweaty dirty place. I needed to get back to Europe!! 

Anyway, when our taxi dropped us to the bus station 7 minutes after the bus’s departure time, the bus was pulling out of the dirt carpark that was the bus station. That is, it was pulling out until I stood in front of it!  I was desperate and determined to get out of Egypt and desperate times call for desperate measures.  There was no way the bus driver was going to run down a western tourist – or was he?  I wasn’t convinced I’d be safe, but I wasn’t moving.  Luckily, the rude bastard of a driver let us on – and as it turned out he couldn’t leave anyway for some reason and we were stationary for another 15 minutes.  This is the only time I’ve been grateful for Egyptian time (i.e. not doing anything on time!)  Phew.  We were on the bus and on our way to getting out of Egypt.

After a four hour bus ride, we went to the wrong terminal at Cairo airport and ended up trudging to two other terminals with all our stuff until we found the right one.  Upon check in with Iberian Airlines, I was told that there was a problem with my reservation. In my head I was thinking: Like shit there is!  You had better let me on that plane buddy or else…!!  My problem was resolved, without me ever knowing what the problem was, and we were on our way to Barcelona, via Madrid.  We flew all night and got no sleep.  At Madrid airport we had to wait four long hours before our flight to Barcelona. The shops were all shut and there were no seats without arms to lay down on and sleep.  We were Knackered.  Really.  Someone smart had pushed two rows of seats close together facing each other, providing a narrow space to lay day without being obstructed by the seat arms.  So that’s what i did – lay down and tried to sleep. What was I thinking?!  It was 100 per cent impossible to sleep – so uncomfortable.  I was tired and grumpy, and thirsty but had no water and no where to buy it from because shops were closed and I didn’t have any Euro coins to use the vending machine.

Poor Zorba – I called him on his birthday to wish him a happy birthday and I must’ve sounded terrible.  Happy Birthday future husband!

Anyway, by 6.30am, most of the shops were starting to open giving us something to occupy ourselves with.  Then our flight from Madrid to Barcelona was delayed by an hour, groan.   After a horrendous 17 hours of travel, we made it. A direct flight, had there been one, would have taken five hours.   Anyway, we were in Barcelona – hurrah!  The first thing I noticed is that everyone was wearing nice clothes, not galabeas (dress things that men in Egypt wear), no women had their heads or faces covered, and everything was new and clean.  Aaaaahhhh, back in the first world.  It was also lovely to be in cooler weather and not sweat every minute of the day!

I just knew I was going to relish every moment of being back in Spain.