Gula Bar - Best New Opening this Year?

 

I have been waiting impatiently for gastro bar Gula Bar to open. One of my all-time favourite restaurants in Barcelona is Santa Gula, ever since we moved to Gracia many years ago. Then I heard they were going to open a sister restaurant on the same street and I was counting the days. 

Having high expectations is never a good thing, it is difficult to see them exceeded or even reached. But Gula Bar does all that and more.

 Gula Bar, Barcelona

Gula Bar, Barcelona

The decoration is already promising. The big letters in the back spelling out Gula (as in their sister restaurant) sets the tone, as does the bar by the large windows by the entrance. The lighting is perfect, not too bright to be annoying and not too dark so you can’t see what you are eating (my greatest annoyance). And as a photographer I have to add: not too much top lighting to ruin your flatlays with shadows..! Geeky, I know.

Gula Bar Barcelona

I was very surprised when seeing the menu. I was expecting comforting, familiar choices similar to Santa Gula (I cannot avoid comparing the two!) but none of that was spelled out on the list of choices. Instead I saw intriguing and fun items with plenty of innovation and a few nudges to Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine (Citronella! Labneh! Jerusalem artichokes!) but without losing their essence in the mix. 

 Mussels in yuzu in Gula Bar, Barcelona

Mussels in yuzu in Gula Bar, Barcelona

The menu is divided into Tapitas, Bocados and Platillos, translating into three different dish sizes. I was so excited about so many of the dishes I saw that we struggled to nail down the options to the three or four per person as the staff suggested. Eventually we had to make our choice and opted for a wide set of fascinating items. 

 Mind-blowing savoury Crema Catalana in Gula Bar, Barcelona

Mind-blowing savoury Crema Catalana in Gula Bar, Barcelona

The dishes did not disappoint. Quite the contrary. I loved the mussels in yuzu, the false nigiri made with avocado in tempura and topped with tuna belly, the vietnamese ox tail “bikini” blew me away and the savoury Crema Catalana with corn, foie gras and roasted hazelnuts blew me away to the extent that it ended up on my list of the best dishes I have had this year. 

 Maiz con maiz y maiz: dessert at Gula Bar Barcelona

Maiz con maiz y maiz: dessert at Gula Bar Barcelona

The desserts continued in the line of what we had experienced so far. The “maiz con maiz y maiz” was a beautiful coconction that combined creamy mousse with a wonderfully stingy lime, and the “Pantera Rosa” married rose with with white chocolate and raspberries infused in red wine. So dreamy.

Gula Bar is possibly the best new restaurant I have visited so far in 2018. Everything comes together to create a great experience: the amosphere, the cosy place, the wonderful staff, the fun menu and the value. Congratulations, you nailed it again. 

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